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Should Cell Phones be Banned in Educational Institutions?
Gone are the days of the famous “Get Smart” shoe phone. Also long-gone are the days of having a mobile phone that could only be used in a car and came with its own backpack. Instead, we have cell phone devices that fit in the palm of our hand and slide neatly into our pocket. In 2011, there were 835 smart phone users worldwide, with 5.6 regular cell phone users. By 2015, global Internet usage will double, with most of that usage being access from a mobile phone. And the idea that only adults are using this technology is a myth. It is said that four out of five teenagers use a wireless device, and they find it a marker of social status and a valuable device for communication and entertainment. But with children having access to cell phones, and much of their time being spent as students, an important question arises: Should cell phones be banned in educational institutions?
Many people do not see cell phones as a problem in educational institutions. They say that cell phones can be turned off or set on vibrate during class time, so that they do not serve as a distraction. It makes parents feel more comfortable to be able to reach their child if there is an emergency, and it makes children feel more secure as well. Also, cell phones allow students the opportunity to communicate their after-school where-a-bouts, without bogging-down the one phone that a school facility is able to provide.
In the classroom itself, cell phones can be seen as quite useful. They are smaller than laptops or computer monitors, yet have many of the same features. Internet access is almost necessary in educational facilities these days, and students can conduct research at their own desk using their phone or buy essays online. The apps available for phones can be helpful, giving information about astronomy, literature, or even geography. Many students use text features to ask fellow classmates questions, while others use their phone as an organizational tool by putting dates for tests and assignments into day planners.
Of course, the argument against having cell phones allowed in educational institutions is strong as well. Cell phones are known to be quite distracting in a classroom setting, both for the student with the phone as well as those around him/her. Even on vibrate a cell phone makes noise, and receiving messages will distract from class work or discussion. Also, cell phones offer more methods for bullying. Threats can be sent secretly to another student, or pictures can be taken and circulated around, invading the privacy of other people.
Some people may say that older students – those in high school and university – are more mature and will be more responsible with their phones, but there is no proof of that. College professors often complain about people texting in class. Besides, due to higher pressure for grades, the temptation to cheat on exams is much more likely for students – and much easier to manage with a cell phone.
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