Cell Phones in Schools – Helpful or Harmful?

In this generation, phones are everywhere. Kids starting at very young ages are getting phones. It is becoming something that most kids and teenagers can’t leave their house without. Phones are becoming such a major issue that French schools are doing something about it this year. All French middle schools have decided to ban phones from their schools. In a poll done in France, it was proven that 90% of kids have cell phones. In an attempt to combat classroom distractions and bullying, middle schools in France decided to ban cell phones altogether.

So, what if we did this at Cape Henry? How would that change things? Mr Angilly, Director of Student Life, and Mrs. Speight, Upper School Administrative Assistant, had much to say about the topic of banning phones. When asked their opinions on whether they think it’s effective or not, they both had different opinions. Mr Angilly believes that it is effective. He says that kids and faculty rely too much on their phones and banning them would help that. Mr. Angilly also comments that the faculty would need to be added to the banning rule. Mrs. Speight, however, says for her job she needs her phone. She uses it to get a hold of other faculty, and if she is needed by parents or anyone, it is necessary.

The next big question was whether or not Cape Henry will ever ban cell phones. Both Mr. Angilly and Mrs. Speight agreed that it would never happen. Mr. Angilly went a step further and explained that it may get to a point where the importance of the phones will be lessened. He also laughs and says that Dr. Garran cancels school on Twitter, more proving the widespread use of the phones. When asked if they think banning phones will reduce bullying or phone addiction, both adults say no. They both agreed that whatever you don’t do at school, you can just go home and do. Mr. Angilly also expressed that most kids don’t post or cyberbully in school, so banning phones wouldn’t even prevent that. However, both administrators believe that banning phones would have a positive impact on all students. Mr. Angilly explained that “banning phones would make kids happier and less stressed.” Mrs. Speight agrees and says “it would also improve communication, and give kids time away from their parents and a sense of independence.”

Mr. Angilly and Mrs. Speight next expressed their opinions about how students, administrators, and parents would react if phones were banned in schools. Both agreed that initially, students would be resistant and claim that “they need it” but most would get over it. Parents would be nervous that they couldn’t get in touch with their children during the school day. According to Mr. Angilly, the faculty would be open to the idea and more for it than everyone else. When asked what ideas the administration had to stop bullying, Mr. Angilly said he would really like to have real discussions with everyone about how social media can cause depression because of the comparisons people make. His goal is to stop kids from feeling this way. The last thing Mrs. Speight has to say is that banning phones could stop more than just bullying. The phone makes it easier for kids to cheat, and if they were banned, it would reduce cheating in kids. Overall, Mrs. Speight really believed it would be a beneficial action that would force our generation to interact in a different way.

In order to get a student perspective, Jamie Friedman and Ethan Jones, both Class of 2019, expressed their opinions on the topic. Jamie thinks that banning phones from schools is simply not a good idea. “Why upset people? It would also make communication with parents difficult.” Jamie expresses that if schools are really worried about it, teachers could collect phones at the start of their class every day. Ethan, however, takes a different approach. Ethan believes that banning phones could be effective in ending classroom distraction, but kids will go home and bully anyway. Neither Jamie nor Ethan think Cape Henry will ever ban phones. Jamie thinks there will never be a strong enough reason, and Ethan thinks parents would complain too much. Jamie explains that she doesn’t think banning phones would prevent bullying, however, “it would lessen the pressure social media puts on students because they have less time to check it.” Ethan says that banning phones could potentially make bullying worse because it would give them more time to bully at home. According to Jamie, banning phones would fix the potential to pull out our phone and get distracted in class. On the other hand, she also says that phones are a very helpful tool that is used for learning. Ethan believes the reaction of students to the ban would be mixed. Some would care, while some wouldn’t. Jamie says that everyone will be upset. Ethan says the parents would also have mixed feelings. Some would believe it was a better learning environment for their children, while others would want to get in touch with their children. Jamie adds on by saying that teachers’ reactions would be mixed; it really depends on how much they rely on the use of technology. Ethan counter argues her point saying the teachers would be happy to take away the distraction. Ethan and Jamie both agree that there can be a better way to manage the usage of phones without banning them. Jamie says every classroom should have a place to put cell phones during class. Ethan says regulating phone usage in schools could be effective without banning.

Gabriella Gianascoli, Class of ‘19, was asked about the use of phones in middle schools. Being the older sibling and constantly seeing her younger sister on her device, Gabriella thinks it would be beneficial for middle schoolers to have their phones banned. Gabriella says that when she sees younger kids on their devices, it makes her sad. She also expresses that these children aren’t interactive with each other. She thinks they use social media against each other because they aren’t aware of their actions. The French schools seem to be on the right track with their actions.  Overall, the opinion of our administration and students is varied. The usage of phones in schools has come to be an extreme amount and soon, there needs to be action depleting the usage of cell phones. While banning phones may not be the most effective way, something needs to be done about this issue.