DAA Daily

Should Phones Be Banned in School?

Oyku Butun and Donna AbouNasr  Staff reporters, The Pawprint 

For implementing the ban: Oyku

Phones and social media are a big part of a teenagers life, but so many people are against teenagers using their phones either completely or for long periods of time. 

What makes a smart phone so addictive? According to an article by Independent News, the cause of this addiction is known to be due to our reaction to notifications throughout the day. As David Greenfield said, notifications causes one to be exposed to dopamine reward, which focuses on the same areas involved when we eat, drink alcohol and ingest drugs,– so it’s no wonder we’re increasingly fearful of having to go phone-less. This is called nomophobia. A newspaper published by the Frontiers in Psychology reveals that “our addiction has little to do with the phone itself, but rather to do with our human need to socialize as well as the need to be seen by others and watch/observe their behaviors.” This theory is supported by Samuel Veissière, lead researcher and assistant professor at McGill University, he states that addiction occurs because of our evolutionary need to connect with other people. 

Specialists have stated that giving a child a smartphone is like giving them drugs. They also state that addiction is about the person, and not the substance they’re abusing.

Teachers in our school believe that students using their phones is a problem. The Pawprint asked Mr. Dewaelsche what he thinks about minimizing phone use.

“What do you think about banning phones in school?”

“Personally I think I’m a bit old fashioned. When I was growing up we didn’t have phones in our pockets. As a teacher I started teaching a little earlier than the smartphone age, I’ve seen it more and more over the years, especially since I have started teaching high-schoolers. I personally think the phone causes students to not focus, as a parent, so I think phones are bad. Even if they’re in school, they should be in a bag or preferably in a locker. Aside from the distraction and disrespect it has for the teacher, it is disrespectful to the students who are engaged or presenting.” He also expressed his concern for the students who are very active online, “There is bullying and it is easier to perform online.”

Against implementing the ban: Donna

There is a huge debate on whether or not phones should be allowed in school, and whether they should be banned. While the point that they can be distracting is a valid one, banning them altogether is not the solution, in my opinion. 

Banning phones will only make students more innovative about hiding them. If a student really wants their phone with them, they will definitely find a way to have it with them. Even if they get caught, the next time they will only get better at hiding it, and students will learn from their past mistakes.

They’re also useful to use in class and, when used properly, can really help with academics. There are quite a few occasions where having a phone is useful for academic purposes, and you can find teachers that agree that they can be used to help with a students’ learning 

According to Mrs. Deanna Engler, a biology teacher here at DAA, phones should not be banned. She believes that they can be both very useful and distracting. Mrs. Engler has rules to prevent distractions with phones; her students can use their phones with her permission, and she does not think that banning them is the right decision. 

Phones are not only distractions, they’re used for communication, for entertainment, news, music, and much more. Without their phones in school, how is a student supposed to contact their parents in the event of an emergency? Sure they can use a school phone, but how efficient would that be? To have a long line of students waiting to talk to their parents when they could’ve easily sent a message in a matter of seconds. 

Let’s create a scenario. There’s a fire at the school, and although no students were harmed, the fire caused the school to send their students home early. The students would then need to communicate with their parents for a convenient pickup time, there’s the possibility of a parent not being available to pick their child up, then other transportation would have to be arranged. Without some sort of mobile device, the chaos that would occur as students and parents try to contact each other is not only a safety hazard, but it is also easily avoidable.

The argument that phones in school are a distraction, again, is very valid, but banning them does not solve the problem. Even if a ban on phones were successful and the school administration manages to be completely certain no one has their phone with them, there are always other distractions.

Banning the phones will only make people want to have it on them more than before. Take fidget spinners for example. A couple years ago, fidget spinners were a tool used by some students to help them focus, however, the school deemed them a distraction and banned them. At the time, if you looked closely, you could still see students who sat at the back of the room with a fidget spinner showing it off to their friends. This makes them more of a distraction because there is a risk element in it, which makes it seem ‘cool’. Not to mention the student who actually used the fidget spinners for their purpose, are now having more trouble focusing.

Not all students use their phones during class. Many use them only when they have permission from the teacher, and only with things that can further help with their work, such as listening to music. Many people find it easier to focus when there is music playing, and taking a student’s phone away takes the music away as well. Some may argue that the student can use their computer, but a phone is less of a distraction than the computer when it comes to playing music. If the activity is online, it is better to have separated the music source from the working item, because the temptation to stop working and go off task is more when it is on the computer, because it makes it easier to hide, and it’s more difficult to manage. Also, if the task is not online, using a computer only for music takes up more desk space and is more of a distraction. 

Overall, banning phones from school is more trouble than it’s worth, seeing as; they’re useful, they can help with safety matters, and banning them will only make them more popular in classes amongst students. 

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