Should Schools Have no Cell Phone Policies? 


Kiera Decesare, Online Editor


We are currently living in a digital age, where many of us rely on our cellphones to help us with every aspect of our lives from directions to calling a parent in case of an emergency. No cell phone policies are useless and don’t encourage students to learn. 

Cell phone bans at schools don’t cause students to be engaged or pay attention. Neuroscientist Marry Yang says, “It is literally neurobiologically impossible to think deeply about things that you don’t care about. If a school banned cell phones, students would distract themselves using other methods like doodling or sleeping, like students did before cell phones existed. Peer reviewed studies from Stockholm University have also shown that banning phones in class has no impact on student’s grades and performance. 

Additionally, banning cell phones at a school wouldn’t cause students to stop using them. It’s inevitable that students would bring their phones to school. The only thing that would happen would be that deans and administration would have more work, as they would have to write more referrals to students who were on their phones. It would also interfere with students learning if they’re being taken out of class to be disciplined for being on their phones. 

Cell phones also help students feel more comfortable in their environment. If I’m having a particularly rough day at school, I’ll text my sister for advice. Often times, this act completely changes the course of my day for the better. If cell phones were banned, this would no longer be an option.  

Cell phone bans also wouldn’t prepare students for the workplace or even college for that matter, where bosses and professors won’t harp on students to put away their phones. They’ll just get fired or dropped from the class. It’s important for students to learn for themselves when they can and cannot use their phones. 

Another thing many schools and teachers are adopting is integrating cell phone use into the curriculum. By utilizing things like virtual labs and TEDTalks, schools are able to work with technology, not against it. Cell phones can also enhance learning by giving students resources to further their knowledge on topics that interest them. 


While I think flat out bans are not needed, one possibility would be to instate small consequences for cell phone use during instructional time. One possibility that some of my teachers have used is having a participation category in the grade book, and every time you are on your phone, the teacher takes 5 points of your participation grade. It’s only 10% of your final grade, but it still encourages students to get off their phones by giving them a quantifiable consequence. Another strategy would be to give students 2 warnings to get off their phone before they have to put their phone in something like a cell phone pouch before class. This could also reset every quarter, so students would be incentivized to not have to put their phone away but could also use it in case of an emergency.