Young students of age 15 to 18 regularly sneak around on their smartphones because administration and teachers have banned them as they distract students during school hours and also promote the culture of cheating during exams. Moreover, the big smartphone companies such as Samsung and Apple have targeted the school students as their most thriving market and therefore launch new features in their updated models to lure the students to buy their smartphone products. The logic that if a child is given an inch, he/she will take the miles is true in this regard as if students are given the liberty to use smartphones in the learning institutions; they will not just use them for research purposes. Whenever a student texts or picks up a call while a lecture session, every student and teacher around gets affected, and the attention of the students is diverted. This makes it difficult for students to learn in a conducive environment and it can also cause a teacher to stop teaching because of the disturbance and everyone’s diverted attention on the smartphone. This analytical essay effectively delves into the seriousness of the insight why the use of smartphones in the school environment in the US as well as in the world as a whole by the students should never be accepted.
The use of smartphones by the school students can be used for constructive purposes if the school administration wants to enhance the learning outcomes and therefore a part of US academics support the use of smartphones in schools. (Dodson, 2020) Even though smartphones are a positive mean of learning and research, these technological devices can also be used negatively and hence disrupts the learning process in the learning institutions. Therefore, the use of smartphones by students in the school environment is opposed bitterly by the other part of the US academics. For instance, in the classrooms, if a student can access the reading material and research online through a smartphone, the same student can have the access to destructive information such as pornographic material available on many Internet websites. (Wang & Ronald, 2009) Besides, a student who can positively use distinctive features a smartphone is well-equipped with such as writing Emails to peers or teachers, accessing research through Internet, can also misuse the freedom like listening to music during lecture hours, cyberbullying, etc.
A significant reason why smartphones should not be allowed in the realm of learning institutions is that their free use has contributed to the risk of cyberbullying in the United States. The United States Parliament for the 2019-2020 academic years has passed a policy to control the potential cyber risks including privacy issues smartphones stirred up in many counties of the United States. Students up to age 14 across the United States according to this legislation have been banned to take their digital technologies to their classes. The goal of this legislation is to break the phone addiction in school students as well as control the risk of cyber-bullying to ensure students’ attention on their schoolwork in their classrooms. It has been reported by the US Bureau that 25% of teenage school students and 38% of young people outside the learning institutions experience cyberbullying repeatedly through their smartphones. Sadly, Bureau reported that at least half of the suicides attempted around the states of the US in the last few years were by teenagers because they have been bullied by unknown people. (Wang & Ronald, 2009)
US academics have approved this legislation by banning the school students that they do not have their phones out in the classrooms as they are not only a source of distraction from learning but also cause dangerous risks such as students filming other students and teachers which subsequently results in bullying those people anonymously later. US Bureau also has reported after implementing the banning legislation that the amount of “online bullying and peer-on-peer abuse” has decreased. Before that academic policy, cyberbullying was not the only problem but theft in the playground, blackmailing over the content students recorded or filmed during their class hours for targeting teachers and students anonymously, and sharing adult content were the major concerns smartphones posed. However, banning the presence of phones in the school environment has reduced the educational inequalities to support the low-cost policy in the learning environment as well as reduced the detrimental effects of cyberbullying, safety issues, and has controlled the suicide rate. (Beland, 2016)
The socially immoral act of invading someone’s privacy is the main concern US academics have warned the schools regarding the ban of smartphones within their premises as school students pry into the privacy of their fellow students through their smartphones. The videos they film during class hours and pictures they take are then posted on some famous social media websites such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok, etc without the person’s consent and cause serious harm to people’s moral and personal space. Furthermore, students take screenshots or photo shots of their classmates while in the bathrooms and use those pictures for “sex-texting” other students which is a clear example of misuse of smartphones negatively for harassment and bullying purposes. A cyberbullying case of Megan Meier raised the awareness of misuse of smartphones in the schools who committed suicide because her fellow students texted her some “hurtful” messages on MySpace, a social media platform, in 2006. Later in 2010, another teenage school student Tyler Clementi committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge because his roommate shared videos of his personal time with his classmates by spying on him through installing a CCTV in his room. Moreover, another negative concern that has become rampant over the years in learning institutions is the increasing rate of theft cases. The fact that these smartphones from valuable companies such as Apple and Samsung are expensive makes them a valuable prize for thieves. This act of theft does not only promote immorality in students yet the content such as private videos and pictures can later be used to blackmail a person whether a student or a teacher and such instances again relate back to cyberbullying.
On the contrary, some of the policymakers restrict schools from banning smartphones during class hours as they think that the virtual world would enhance and improve the learning process because smartphones aid school students in understanding vital academic knowledge from the Internet. This specific group of US Legislation authorities perceives banning smartphones as a hindrance for students in accessing relevant vital academic content as students at an early age are creative creatures and relying only on the course material provided by teachers and school administration could fade their creative abilities. Therefore, this group suggests that students should be permitted to bring smartphones in the schools with the only condition that they would use this technology constructively to enhance positive learning and performance outcomes. Richard Dodson’s analysis of the use of smartphones and their impacts in 8 different states of the US effectively relates that keeping smartphones in backpacks and lockers during the non-instructional time in classrooms is approved to be the effective technique to restrict students from negative use of smartphones. Nearly one school in every eight states of the United States believed that permitting students under the supervision of a teacher was the top priority of the administration to drive instruction as a major instructional goal. Even some of the principals of the schools wanted to increase the use of social media platforms in their learning environment. (Dodson, 2020)
The main reasons why parents and school administration allow students to have smartphones within the premises of schools are scheduling and the safety of the children. In a recent poll in the United States, 90% of the parents were in favor of providing smartphones to school students so that they could be able to contact their children in an emergency. 70% of the parents who took part in the survey accused school administration that it won’t allow school students to use office phones in an illness or emergency case. (Mullen, 2006) Despite smartphones’ importance in the field of education for enhancing learning and performance outcomes, no one can keep an eye shut on the fact that they have been the cause of online bullying which has increased peer-on-peer abuse in the classrooms. Now, smartphones have followed the students to their homes through the evil of cyberbullying where they should be safe.
In conclusion regarding the discussion of detrimental effects of using smartphones within the premises of learning environments, allowing school students to contact their parents in case of emergency or illness through office phones is a compromising solution to put an end to parents’ concerns. (Mullen, 2006) However, allowing students to use their own smartphones after reviewing the undeniable negative results of using smartphones during their study hours is not a healthy step as the US Legislation authority already suggested because young students do not understand the negative impacts smartphones pose on their lives. The policy US Parliament has made to reduce the losses in the form of teenage suicide due to cyberbullying arising from the extensive use of smartphones while students are in school is incorporated as the best academic policy in the United States to date. Last but not least is, digital technology should be used constructively to enhance learning outcomes in the learning environment instead of posing damage and harm to the members of society, especially to the vulnerable learners of the community.
Wang, Jing, Ronald J. Iannotti, and Tonja R. Nansel. “School bullying among adolescents in the United States: Physical, verbal, relational, and cyber.” Journal of Adolescent Health 45.4 (2009): 368-375.
Beland, Louis-Philippe, and Richard Murphy. “Ill communication: technology, distraction & student performance.” Labour Economics 41 (2016): 61-76.
Dodson, Richard. “An Analysis of Public School Principals’ Perceptions of Social Media, Computer and Smart Phone Use in Schools in Eight US States.” Educational Research Quarterly 44.1 (2020): 3-34.
Mullen, G. “Most parents reject school cell phone bans.” Telecommunications Americans 40.10 (2006): 10-11.