Unpacking The Pros And Cons Of Cell Phone Bans In Schools

There's currently a hodgepodge of restrictions in place across the country. Unpacking The Pros And Cons Of Cell Phone Bans In Schools Giphy

News that is entertaining to read

Subscribe for free to get more stories like this directly to your inbox

As a society, devices have become a central component of daily life. Many of you are reading this newsletter right now on your smartphones.

But there are some serious concerns about when and where it is appropriate to use them … and one of the most prominent examples of this debate is in the classroom.

What schools are doing

Efforts to reduce distractions, cheating, and cyberbullying among students have led many districts across the U.S. to impose strict bans on cell phones inside schools. With communities largely deciding how to handle the issue, however, there is no clear consensus on which strategy is most effective — and there are even some compelling arguments for allowing students to keep their phones with them in class.

So let’s take a look at some ways administrators are responding:

  • Florida and Indiana led the way with statewide restrictions on phone use in schools.
  • Two of the nation’s largest districts — Los Angeles and New York City — are pursuing bans.
  • In Gorham, Maine, a plan allowing kids to “police themselves” has been effective.

No matter what tactic a district uses, there’s widespread agreement that there must be some limitations.

Do kids need smartphones?

The school-related debate is part of a larger issue regarding what age children should be allowed to own a smartphone.

These devices have been linked to higher rates of anxiety and depression, leading social psychologist Jonathan Haidt to argue that old-school flip phones should suffice until children enter high school.

He has also argued against allowing phones in school, but some critics say they can be a crucial method of communication in an emergency.

It’s a complex issue, but David Banks, chancellor of the NYC school system, said principals and parents across the Big Apple support a simple solution: “Take the phones.”

Chris Agee
Chris Agee July 6th, 2024
Share this story: