Cell phones are a distraction in the classroom

Nancy Beston and Grace Carr, Intro to Journalism

The only distractions classrooms used to consist of were people staring out of windows, passing notes, and throwing spit wads. Now, it’s the people scrolling through social media, playing games, texting about gossip, and possibly taking phone calls during classes. How are you supposed to learn when there is a diversion being kept in your pocket at all times?

According to a survey done by twgplus.com, 43 percent of students admit that they text in class once a day or more. That is every four in 10 people who are sending a text. In that 30 seconds, someone who sent a message saying “yeah” may have possibly learned something that will help them in their future. Unfortunately, because they had to send their friend a meaningless response they will never have the proper chance to gain that needed information.

The same source did another survey. It showed that 64 percent of teens with cell phones have texted and 25 percent have made or received a call during class time. Again, students are wasting their time to answer messages instead of getting the most out of their free education. Overall, this is going to seriously affect our society because we prioritize a message saying “lol” over someone teaching us important information.

Not only are cell phones a distraction, but they make it easier for students to cheat. Instead of putting the effort of sneakily leaning over and “stretching” to look at their neighbors’ answers, all students have to do now is just take out their cell phone and type their question on the internet. Using a phone is a lot less noticeable than looking at surrounding answers and it’s more likely to be correct. If students constantly cheat on their tests, then their grades won’t represent their true knowledge. This could get them into some serious trouble and affect how well they perform on highly monitored test such as a final.

The United States is already lacking far behind in education. The United States ranks 17th out of 40 countries in educational performance. That means that 16 countries are doing better than us — and we have free schooling. Obviously, we are doing something wrong. There are many factors contributing to our low performing education rate. However, if people payed attention in their classes instead of checking their phone constantly or using it phone as a cheating device, we may be able to start the process of increasing a student’s academic performance.  

Some people may say that they can be used for educational and emergency purposes. While this is understandable, we do have books, computers, and calculators for students to use as tools in the classroom. In addition, the concept of using a phone for an emergency purpose is ridiculous. We have a phone in every classroom and most teachers also have their cell phone on them. These are two devices that can be easily used in an emergency. Also, when lockdowns and evacuations happen, students first reactions are usually to message or call their parents. This has caused bad situations to become worse because parents may block exits and roads while trying to get to their children.

To avoid these problems, we could try banning cell phones. It may have little effect because according to another study by twgplus.com, 58 percent of cell phone owning teens at schools with a no phone policy have still sent a message during class. So clearly that would not fix the problem of cell phone use by students.

Another idea is that students could put their phones in a safe place with the teacher at the beginning of class. As an additional motivator, if they do this every day, they could be put in a drawing for a chance to win prizes. Then, if they are caught with their phone, not only will the phone be confiscated, but they will lose their chance to win a prize. This would encourage students to check in their phones and stay off them during class.

Cell phones have become a distraction in the classroom. They are an object used for cheating, make it difficult for students to focus during class time, and cause us to prioritize social media over a free education. By strengthening a no cell phone policy, we can improve a scholar’s concentration and increase their knowledge.