Why elementary schoolers should not have cell phones

Two kids using their phones.

National Park Service

Two kids using their phones.

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Elementary school. The same classroom, teacher, and 30 students for a whole school year, back in 2010 the most technology access was in the computer lab. But these days that’s all changed. These days, most elementary school kids are found running around with iPhone Xs, AirPods, Apple Watches, most of the things us high schoolers didn’t even get to taste until middle school. As Bob Dylan said,” times are a-changin.” Kids should not start getting smartphones so early because they are a distraction in school and at home and can lead to cyberbullying and cheating.
Arguably one of the biggest problems schools deal with is bullying, but bullying doesn’t have to be physical or in-person. It can be done on the internet and on social media, and in some cases, cyber bullying has a much worse effect on the individual receiving the bullying. Most people in school who have phones also have some sort of social media. It’s an easy and fun way to share your life outside of school and chat with people. However, since we’re young and getting to the age of ‘curiosity,’ sometimes people say or do dumb things. Some people will then gossip about what was said over text to their friends, in turn cyberbullying the individual. This can cause the individual who received the bullying to, in turn, have a change of behavior, or worse.
Another problem would be the distraction, both at home and at school. According to a Time Magazine article, on average the American population has a total of 8 billion, yes billion, pickups per day (a pickup is where you pick-up your phone to look at it). An estimated 256 million Americans have smartphones, which averages to around 31 pickups per American with a smartphone every day. Statistically, most people are awake 16 hours a day, so this averages to roughly 2.1 pickups every hour. School is on average 8 hours long, so that’s 17 times you’ll check your phone at school. That’s 17 times you could miss an important part of the lesson, or a question you may have. Seventeen times you give your attention to a little piece of $700 technology. At home it’s also a problem. If you have assignments due or a test you need to study for, it’s hard to give your undivided attention to your school work, especially when your bestie just HAS to spill that tea on Snapchat, or your favorite YouTuber is streaming your favorite game.
The third problem is cheating. Most smartphones and devices we have, one way or another, have some form of connection to the internet. With just that, you can find the answer to just about anything. From translating ‘nosotros’ from Spanish to English to finding the square root of 44 to the power of three, the internet has all the answers. Most people won’t admit to cheating on their school work, but it happens every day. Even if it’s just as simple as sending the answers of the chemistry review to your friend, it’s still cheating. These phones, these little devices we have in our pockets every day, have become scapegoats for us not knowing the work. Some teachers are hard on cheating, making kids turn in their phones on test days, or not even have the privilege to use your phones at all during class, but it still happens.
So for the reasons of cyberbullying, distractions and cheating, kids who are in elementary school should not have smartphones. Their young minds are still developing every day, and elementary school is important. These kids don’t need the extra mental weight of carrying around a smartphone every day. So parents, hold off getting your child or children cell phones for just another year or two, until they get to middle school. Students in elementary school don’t need the added distraction of having a smartphone.