Cell Phones at School: Should They Be Allowed?

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by: Maya Cohen
Should cell phones be allowed in school? A 2010 Pew Research Center study found that 65 percent of cell-owning teens bring their phones to school despite any bans that may be in place. Most schools now allow students to have cell phones but require them to be turned off during class because they can be disruptive and distracting. Read on for the pros and cons of allowing cell phones in school to help make the right decision for your child.
Teen girl standing at locker with cell phone
The Pros
You can be in touch with your children, and know their whereabouts. (The Pew study noted that 48 percent of parents use the phone to monitor their child's location.)

Should Your Child Get a Cell Phone?

Close Up of Teen Holding Cell Phone with Painted Nails
Can be Used in Emergencies
Your kids can reach you in the event of an emergency, and vice versa.
Boy on School Campus with Cell Phone
Can Be Used If Help is Needed
If in danger, your children can reach the authorities or a medical provider.
Students holding cell phones and tablets on white background
Easy to Turn On and Off
Phones can be silenced during class or study periods, and active only in appropriate places.
Teen sitting in school hallway texting on cell phone
Convenient Way to Stay in Touch
Cell phones create a convenience that was previously unavailable. With cell phones, you can easily reach your kids for any reason: to ask them questions, change plans, or to simply say hello.
Girl and boy student texting in classroom
The Cons
Students often forget to turn off their phones in class, and ringing noises or text-message alerts disrupt learning.
Distracted student studying and texting
Cause Distractions
Even if set to silent, cell phones can still cause distraction, since text messaging has become a high-tech method of passing notes in school.
Teens busy with cell phones
Can Be Unreliable During a Widespread Crisis
In the event of a widespread crisis, rampant cell phone use can overload communication systems and render them inoperable.
Teen girls standing outside with cell phone
Can Be Used to Spread Rumors and Misinformation
Student cell phone networks add to the spread of rumors and misinformation, which can be harmful during a widespread crisis.
Worried teen looking at cell phone
Can Be Used for Bullying
Mobile phones with a connection to the Internet (therefore, Facebook, Twitter, and other popular — and potentially dangerous — social media apps) can be even more of a distraction and can be used for cyberbullying.
Close up of cell phone with three Asian boys looking on
Can Be Used for Cheating
Phones can be used as cheating devices during exams.
Male teens standing by locker with cell phones
Long-Term Effects Still Unknown
The long-term physical effects of cell phone use are still undetermined.
Happy female teen friends looking at phone
What Do You Think?
Should school allow cell phones? Take our poll.

Would you allow your child to take a cell phone to school? Take our poll.

At what age is it appropriate for a child to start bringing a cell phone to school? Take our poll.