Phone usage during school hours

Jovanna Beltran-Mier, Reporter

How are phones useful in our daily life? Well phones play a pretty big role in our life, we use them for multiple things. We use them when we are bored or even when we have to such as using it to research something or trying to communicate with another. But most teenagers use it during school, mainly during class. When students do this, they are easily distracted which leads to not paying attention in class. Some students are just so attached to their phones so that when they are in class, they just seem to not be able to stay off them. It’s hard for them to pay attention or even do their class work. Which is affecting them because they are not doing their work causing them to fall behind. Yet it’s their fault for not trying to get off their phone and pay attention.  

At some point parents decide it’s time for their child to get a phone. According to an article written by Stacey Stein, the average age kids get a phone is 10 years old. In my opinion that is a very young age to get a phone. The kids have a lot of freedom regarding the internet which can be a problem. Either way why would a ten-year-old need a phone? I think it would be for communication purposes. This is also a reason why kids, teenagers, parents are so attached to their phones. The reason why  because they were given the device at such a young age and are so used to having it whether, they are on social media, watching videos, listening to music etc. 

I asked a former Lakes student, Francisco Ojeda “During high school how often would you use your phone during class compared to now that you are in college?’ And to his response is, “In my opinion it was not very different in high school.  I would use it but not much as I was surrounded by my friends who I would talk to instead of being on my phone. Now that I am in college, yes, I use it but not often at all. I’m not texting my friends or on social media, mainly focused on what my teacher is teaching and or saying. Although phones are a great tool, but they are quite a big distraction. In my experience it was and is different, but phones shouldn’t be used during your learning time instead do yourself a favor and pay attention, just do the best you can.” 

I asked a couple of teachers what their opinion is about phone usage during school hours, and these are their responses. Mr. Hinkle stated, “The only good thing I have seen with phones is that if you need to look something up quickly, the phone can be useful. Other than that, phones in class are the biggest distractor. Kids are not paying attention to lessons because they are texting or watching movies or playing games or listening to music. Sometimes so loud that I can hear it from across the room. if it were up to me, phones would be banned.” I agree with most of what Mr. Hinkle said but I think we shouldn’t ban them completely. At least be able to use them during passing periods or only for emergencies. Another teacher I asked is Mrs. Bailey, and this is what she had to say, “My opinion, is that phones should be put away bell to bell. I do not see any positives for phones now that we have 1:1 student technical device ratio. Any benefit from a phone can also be given from a computer, minus the distractions of the phone. Phones are TERRIBLE for the learning environment. Students watch videos, play games, text, and engage on social media. Awful.” And lastly, Mrs. Gallagher added, “Students using cell phones during class has been a problem for several years now because it distracts students from learning.  However, I have never seen phone usage as bad as it is this year.  More than once, I have seen a student prop their phone up on a bare desk to watch a movie in the middle of a class discussion like it’s no big deal. Our brains are amazing, and we have many bright and talented students here at Lakes, but our brains are not designed to listen to music, watch anime, and try to learn how to analyze a text at the same time. It seems like it does not matter what or how I teach this year, at least one student, although it’s usually several, is on their phone. I have tried direct instruction, class discussion, small group discussions, partner sharing, movement activities…it does not matter.  It seems like an addiction. I am about ready to switch back to a no cell phones even visible in class, with no exceptions policy.  Which is too bad because I think cell phones have the potential to be helpful if students want to read an eBook during designated times, or to keep caught up in class if they forgot their computer one day.  However, everything else on the phone is too tempting and distracting.  Many students seem to struggle too much to resist. I think students really need to reflect hard about how much they are learning, remembering, and engaging in class while their phones are out because in the end, the students are the ones who pay the price.  It is their education they are neglecting.” With all the responses they were all similar, phones are a major problem during school hours. There isn’t a whole lot teachers can do about the usage during their teaching.  

As the years go by the usage of phones is going to increase and the population will increase as well therefore more and more people are going to have the ability to get a phone. We should be cautious about how much screen time we spend on devices and try to decrease that amount of time.