The Student News Site of Alta High School

Cell phones are a problem in classrooms and teachers wish students would put them away.

Cellphones are ruining education: here’s why

Is cellphone use the new problem of 2023?

The bell rings and it’s time to start class. Phones should be stored out of sight, but another distracting “ping” signals an incoming text. To, too many students, the “ping” is irresistible. They must see who is on the end of that notification.

The constant need for students to have to check their phones is causing more harm than good. Experts say the ability to focus long term on daily activities is decreasing and it will cause decreased productivity in the future.

Teachers express frustration at having to constantly remind students during class time to put their phones away. This can take away from teaching and instruction from other students.

English teacher Denise Ferguson said she loves her phone as much as anyone. However, she doesn’t play on her phone during classroom instruction time. “We have definite objectives and when students sneak to play a video game or check snapchat or engage in other entertaining phone options, they miss important information,” she said. “I am amazed that phones come out even when I expressly have students put them away. I wish we could ban them at school.”

Ferguson is not alone in the frustration over phones in the classroom. Math teacher Ron Keller included that cell phones are really distracting. He said that, “There is a big temptation to look at their phone, and open tiktok, etc.”

In the article, “Mobile phones are killing our attention spans and running public discourse,” expert Gavin Esler says. The overload of digital distractions and have major societal impacts for everyone, not just teenagers. “Digital distractions are leading to decreased verbal intelligence among children and cognitive offloading among adults.”

If children continue to use their phones in the same manner we may see the effects of this in how they interact with one another.

Vice principal, Melissa Lister, stated, “I think that students should know when to put them away, before class starts and then have them out after class.” She went on to say that if it’s not a distraction and they are participating in class and learning material then it’s okay.

A student agreed with this thought. Becca McDaniel, who is a senior at Alta, said, “I think that having your phone out can be a great asset, as long as you are still completing all of your work.”

It is important for the teachers and the students to agree on these kinds of topics. Another student thought that the students should always respect the teacher’s decisions, but the teacher should as well.

For some students, it can be confusing because teachers have different rules and policies. Freshman Katelyn Vickers said, “I’ve experienced teachers telling us that we are not allowed to have our phones out but then the next day they tell us to pull it out.”

By students having their phones out, they are not only limiting their learning time but also their ability to learn.

It can be very hard for some teachers to make their own rule on cell phones. Mrs. Vellinga expressed that she wished the school had more of a stance on cell phones. “As a teacher, I think that it is hard to be the one who has to be the bad guy by taking away their phones. But sometimes it is needed to take away their phones and I wish I could just say that that’s the school’s policy.”

There are also some positives. Some examples from students include: pulling up pictures and videos, communicating with family and friends, and turning in assignments.

Even though, Melissa Lister said that she thinks that phones should be put away, she thought there were a lot of good things that they can be used for as well. She said, “I think if it’s education related, then it’s a great reason to have a phone in the class.”

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