Cellphones: Are they really a distraction?


Hannah Collins, Author

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Cellphones have not always been a big issue in school until recent years as they have became more popular. According to Lee Rainie from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, “About 91% of all Americans own a cellphone in the United States.”  Cellphones have became more popular due to the upgrades in phone technology and now even smartphones. Many of today’s schools debate cellphone restrictions or even banning cellphones.

“It’s a complex issue, especially since the debate over cellphones is part of a broader conversation about a cultural shift underway in classrooms — a move away from the traditional model of teachers imparting information to students, to one where students actively participate in their own learning, using mobile devices to access the Web, educational apps, and other tools,” states Linda Matchan in an article about the changes schools face with the rising use of cellphones.

As a recent rule here at Madison Academic there is no longer any cellphone usage in the library. There have always been the simple rules of no phones in the classroom, cafeteria, or hallways, but now this rule is also in the library, so we decided to get some opinions about the big cellphone debate.

Some students here at Madison have different opinions about cellphone usage. Some say “some cellphone usage is necessary,” and others say that “cellphones should be able to be used at anytime as long as the teacher is finished teaching, or we are not in a meeting of some kind.”

“I think that us students should be able to freely use our phones. If I need to use my phone, I want to be able to as long as my teacher is not teaching. During a free period like mentoring, someone should not be allowed to just walk around and take my phone whenever he/she wants because it is causing no harm to anyone nor is it being a distraction. The new  no phone in the library rule is pretty pointless as well, and I say that because I personally go to the library to work on my school work and some work requires my phone,” a frustrated student said.

“I believe that cellphone usage in school could be beneficial if used in the right way,” said Ms.Tyler, a teacher at Madison. Some other teachers disagree with her  and say, “No cellphones at all is the best way to learn.” “If we need to use the internet, I will get the school laptops or use one of the labs to help us out and that cuts out the need for phones, but if you give the students the opportunity to use a phone some of them like to take advantage and view social media sites and sites unrelated to the topic of study,”said an anonymous teacher.

After some research from a few other sources, additional information was found about how the issues about phones were resolved throughout many different schools.  Kinjo Kiema’s article on NEAToday explains how some schools have handled the ban on cellphones. Starting in New York, a rule passed in 2006 was now being reversed, allowing students to have their phone “for easily contacting parents,”according to Mayor Bill De Blasio. Then, in Michigan, about 70% of schools that had cellphone bans are now reversing them to allow cellphones in school. So why would we be getting more strict while everyone else is now accepting phones?


The newly posted “No Cell Phones in the Library” sign.


The Table rules including “No cellphones”


A fellow student using her cellphone during some free time in class.



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Cellphones: Are they really a distraction?