Cellphones in school, yay or nay?

Students discuss their feelings towards the cell phone restrictions at Haven.

Illustration

Illustration

Sasha Binder, Contributor

How often do you use your phone during class? I can openly admit that I have a lot of trouble staying off mine, since like most teens, my whole life is on my phone. It may be impossible to control one’s urges to text, snap, and take their BeReals during class,  but is there truly a need to make phones more accessible than they are now? 

It’s no secret that SHHS students are unable to connect to wifi during the school day (I know we’ve all tried to) and service can be pretty spotty, or nonexistent, as well. While this seems like a smart way to keep students off their phones, it may be doing more harm than good. 

Junior Rae Caruso said the lack of service at school makes it hard for her to access her emails, assignments, and join class-games when her computer is at home or not working. Our school Chromebooks are wonderful, but Caruso brings up an interesting point: What happens if they break or get stolen? Phones could be the only other option.

How could students have access to their phooones without letting it distract them during class?”

According to some teachers, the phone issue has gotten out of hand. 

My teachers spend a significant amount of class time asking students to put their phones away and nothing seems to work. Looking at it from the perspective of a teacher, I can clearly see where phones get in the way. What it comes down to is how many students can control their urges to use their phones, and how many get distracted by just the idea of it sitting in their backpacks. 

“I wouldn’t let it distract me,” senior Sammy Carp said. “Since I’m a senior, my grades matter more and I need to pay more attention in class, so I choose not to go on my phone.” 

While a few students agreed with Carp, others said their phones did interfere with their concentration on schoolwork. 

Junior Daniel Saveliev said that if he ever finds a topic unengaging or an unnecessary review, he goes on his phone as an alternative. 

“I personally find that my phone is a huge distraction, but at the same time, I find that playing music or podcasts helps me focus sometimes,” he said.  

Junior Eliza Cole said the same thing. She agreed that while she can get work done without it, her phone does allow her to play music which is helpful when studying or working. 

Since I got such a wide variety of opinions when interviewing students, I pondered different solutions to the main issues at hand: How could students have access to their phones without letting it distract them during class?  

One idea is allowing students access to the wifi, but limitations for where and when they can use phones in general. For example, in the cafeteria, auditorium, and hallways phones are permitted, but teachers can ask students to put their phones in a specific place in the classroom to keep them out of reach when necessary. Of the students I asked, all of them agreed that this idea was great in theory—meaning that it seems fair and reasonable, but may be hard to do successfully.

While I hate that the texts I send to my mom asking when or where she’s picking me up don’t deliver, or the photo I’m uploading to Google Classroom of last night’s homework won’t go through, maybe there’s a way to avoid that without having school wifi. Maybe it’s a self-control issue among teenagers, or a lack of responsibility, but I don’t see either of those. 

It could be that the rules are too strict for some, and too lenient for others. I think that’s where the issue lies. Some students care more about school than others, but that’s a separate issue.

 I’m obviously a student with my own occasional desire to play Subway Surfers during a class lecture, but I think cell phone usage at Strath Haven is important, and controversial enough, to warrant a more in-depth discussion. In other words, I believe if the students are as passionate about this argument as they claim to be, it’s a discussion that needs to be had.