The digital age is well and truly here. Today it wouldn’t be off the mark to say that everyone and their grandmother has a mobile phone. Teenagers have always been ahead of the trend, but nowadays children as young as 8 have their own smartphones! And many of them are far more adept at using it than adults who are 5 times their age. The digital revolution has changed the world in many ways, bridging gaps of communication, bringing people from all corners of the globe together and involving them in a live web of communication spanning countries and continents, helping them stay in touch with their families, friends and colleagues at the other end of the world. But though these are overwhelming positives, we need to look a bit closer to home and wonder whether allowing children to use mobile phones in schools and classes is a good idea.
Unless the student is going on a field trip where a smartphone would be essential to record the experience and share it with their parents, and to stay in touch with parents as they are sure to worry about their children, wondering what sort of mischief or trouble they are getting into, it does not make sense to allow them the use of a smartphone in schools. Sure, a case could be made for children being allowed the use of phones to stay in touch with their parents, or to inform them when they safely reach school and depart it, but beyond that, once in the school itself, the phone could serve as a distraction instead of contributing to the experience positively.
Ingenious children could end up hiding their phones in creative ways and play games under the desk, or watch movies, read novels, while the befuddled teacher continues teaching a class full of students only physically present in the lecture, while mentally they soar through the worlds that their phones lead them to. This would not only be insulting to the teachers who are trying to instruct students, it would also take away from their authority as unruly children would let those instructions in through one ear and out the other. All the advice and teachings would be falling on deaf ears.
Further, even if they carry their mobile phones in their bags, they would still be tempted to use them from time to time, and instead of paying 100 percent attention to what they are being taught, half of their mind would be on the game they had to pause halfway through before the lecture began, to the movie they had been engrossed in watching in the break, or on the interesting quest that the protagonist of the novel they’d been reading was on. Better to not offer them the temptation, than to have their learning suffer and grades fall if they do not pay total attention to what they are being taught.
To that end, allowing a mobile phone in schools would be a bad idea, barring exceptional circumstances where the parents need to stay in touch with their children.