Cell Phones: Friend or Foe


Photo by skeeze

Emma Jones, Staff Writer

Navigating high school is rough. There’s no denying it. There are so many obstacles to overcome as well as attempting to start life as an adult. One of the biggest challenges students have is sitting right next to them; their cell phones. There is an eternal controversy over whether or not students benefit from having a cell phone in class. While it can save a grade in a class, it can also be the cause of student failure. Navigating the maze of the wireless network is a mighty endeavor.

Robert Earl of the Atlantic magazine takes the stance that “cell phones distract students from school work and class activities.” The cell phone gives students access to a universe of information and opportunities, but it’s a double-edged sword. Kids have a hard time limiting their cell phone usage, which makes them distracted in class.

Bingham High School science teacher Deborah Brown says, “It’s the blatant disrespect. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into these lessons and it’s very rude when my students just sit there texting away.” One study from the Harvard Business Review blog says that trying to multitask while learning has dramatically hurt students intellectually. It is linked to reducing productivity by as much as 40%, increasing stress, and causing a 10-point fall in IQ. Cell phones often divert students away from creating and discovering by filling their minds with the hubbub of the online community.

However, phones can be invaluable in learning. Kevin Moritz, a social studies teacher at BHS, reports that it is so much easier to use a cell phone than classroom computers. “I can tell students to look something up and they have the information ten seconds later,” Moritz says. Students can access assignments, documents, and websites with a touch of their finger. Learning has never been so expansive and easy as it is today.

Brianna Crowley from the Center for Teaching Quality makes an important point when she says, “If educators do not find ways to leverage mobile technology in all learning environments, for all students, then we are failing our kids by not adequately preparing them to make the connection between their world outside of school and their world inside school.” There is no way to avoid the fact that the online world and the physical world are irreversibly intertwined. The best way teachers can serve their students is teaching them to use cell phones to their advantage.

No matter what your opinion is, cell phones will always be around. They are shaping the future around us as we speak, for better or for worse. Users must be aware of the possible danger they are as well as the service they provide. They can either control their phone or let it control them.