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The Trailblazer

The student news site of McNeil High School

The Trailblazer

The student news site of McNeil High School

The Trailblazer

We Shouldn’t Allow Phones In School

In most other parts of the world, it is a standard that mobile phones may not be taken into schools. In fact, just in February of this year, Prime Ministers in England established their stance to back school policies banning phone usage in the classroom. However, in the United States, there is no official prohibition against it other than classroom to classroom rules. It’s quite common to see students texting, on social media apps and more- but it shouldn’t be.

To point out the obvious, phones distract. According to researchers at the University of Colorado, a student’s phone usage is negatively associated with their grades. The study consisted of 299 anonymous college student volunteers who were asked to take a survey regarding their frequency of phone usage in class ranging from “Never,” to “More than five times.” These results were then compared to their grades— showing that for every increase in frequency level, there was a final grade drop of 0.367.

But it’s important to limit cell phone distractions for more reasons than the impact on grades. A study by Common Sense Media reported that for students in America, “97 [percent] of participants used their phones, for a median of 43 minutes (ranging from less than one minute to six and a half hours). The median number of pickups was 13 per school day, [but ranging up] to 229.”

The brain only finishes maturing around age 25. Until that time, a student is continuing to develop discipline, time management and more with school. Having a phone around in school, cannot only inhibit academic performance, but can disrupt the learning of these skills. Supported by the recent but significant rise of cell phone addictions, it can be so easy to give into the temptation to put responsibilities on the backburner and get carried away in technology.

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Secondly, cyberbullying could be reduced by the removal of phones. In 2023, The Cyberbullying Research Center reported that about 30% of teens admitted to being cyberbullied. 26.9% of them described being humiliated online, and 29.8% of them had rumors spread about them online. These are the two most concerning for in-school phone usage.

School should be a place where students can openly express and be true to themselves. However, the danger of being recorded and posted on the internet may be holding some back, and threatening the idea of this safe space. And there is a danger, as proven by the United States Department of Education. In December 2019, they claimed that “schools that did not allow their students to use cell phones had a reportedly higher rate of daily/weekly cyberbullying (16.4 percent of schools) than did schools that allowed cell phone use (9.7 percent of schools).”

These concerning high statistics are important because cyberbullying can cause significant emotional harm, encourage physical self-harm and suicide, feed into depression and mental health issues, and more. On average, there are approximately 4,500 deaths per year from cyberbullying. Therefore, by removing cell phones from schools, there would be a lower frequency of online bullying, potentially saving the lives of thousands of students.

Phones in school also support cheating. Students can sneak their phones into exams, take pictures of the test and search up questions, then spread those results with their friends and peers who will then have an unfair advantage too. One-third of high school students admit to cheating with mobile phones or other devices, as stated by the National Education Association in 2017. Even so, this data was collected before the massive 2020 quarantine, where most students used computers to attend lectures and digital accessibility was much higher than typical in-person school routines. It is reasonable to think that cheating must have heavily increased throughout quarantine, as teachers had little methods of proctoring and monitoring student behavior. In summary, although cheating with phones was on the rise, quarantine must have fostered these bad habits into students and caused a massive spike in this behavior. This can potentially be undone by the banning of phones in school.

To conclude, a phone’s distracting qualities, and tendency to increase cyberbullying or cheating is exactly why students might want to put their mobiles away before walking into the classroom.

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About the Contributor
Camryn Lee
Camryn Lee, Reporter
Hello! My name is Camryn Lee and this is my third year on The Trailblazer staff. I really enjoy writing opinion and entertainment related articles. I also partake in passive photography. My favorite show is House M.D.
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