Cell phones are a technological sensation that have found their place in just about everyone’s pockets, and no demographic has been more associated with cell phone use than teenagers. To many high schoolers, cell phones are useful for communication and research purposes; thus, they believe that they are necessary to have on campus. Despite these benefits, many students who use their phone during class have much less productive intentions in mind. Cell phones serve as major distractions, dissuade students from maintaining good study habits, and are not required when there are other educational resources available on campus.
It is no wonder that cell phones can be a hindrance to a student’s studies when considering the common functionalities of these devices. From seniors snapchatting during FRQ practice in calculus to sophomores surfing through internet memes during an art history lecture, one can not deny that never before has interests in instant messaging and the internet been so widespread and alluring, with over “71% of students [having] sent or received text messages on their cell phones during class,” (Earl, “Do Cell Phones Belong in the Classroom?”) and cellphones are the gateway to this haven of procrastination and unproductivity. These devices within an arm’s reach make it very easy for students to get distracted, intentionally or not. With all the buzzes and beeps a phone produces, a student may feel inclined to check on it, even for a moment, and interrupt their work and focus.
If the continuation of cellphone usage inside classrooms persist, there will be a long term effect on students: the development of bad habits. This unhealthy fixation on cell phones will interfere with students’ academic performance as the attention of students shift from education to entertainment as the use of cellphones become a part of their daily routine. This recurring issue is seen in many schools, one being Garden Grove High School. It is common to see students go on their phones during powerpoints, lectures, and study halls, rather than focusing on their academics. Constant use of cellphones hinders a student’s capacity of learning and absorbing information, and leads to self control further whittling down. Procrastination, a smaller attention span, or lower resistance to temptation can be a result of prolonged usage of cellphones within the classroom. By using cellphones, the risk of developing these harmful habits can skyrocket due to its influences.
Aside from becoming an inauspicious habit among students, cellphones are simply not required when there are other useful education resources already available for use on campus. These resources include books, dictionaries, and even computer carts that provide quick and reliable internet access while blocking sites that are irrelevant to school. Our high school, for example, has a library that contains numerous books and other useful sources of information that students may use at any given time during the school day. Not to mention, there are multiple computers available as well that provide internet for school work and other research purposes. While phones may be more easily accessible and convenient to students than having to go to the library, they still yield the temptation of becoming distracted through social media, mobile games, etc. This distraction stands in students’ ways of completing their work, which takes a heavy toll on their grade over time.
While students may claim that cellphones are beneficial in completing their schoolwork more efficiently, the majority of students who use phones to finish classwork do not show signs of increased productivity. For instance, students claim that they use their phones to listen to music as it helps them concentrate. But according to a study in an article from the Harvard Business Review by Peter Bregman, multitasking can cause productivity to decrease “by as much as 40%,” signifying that students actually perform worse while using their phones, even with minimal interaction. Furthermore, students who may use their phone to study and complete schoolwork instead will often use them to cram information which promotes unhealthy study habits. With sites such as SparkNotes and CliffNotes, students focus more on memorization rather than actually learning the material. Thus, cell phone use leads to inefficient studying techniques that disrupt students’ abilities to work to their best potential.
The growing tolerance of cell phones in the classroom only damages students’ academic performance as they are huge distractions and form bad habits over time. Other educational resources could also easily replace the need for cellphones, such as books and regulated school computers. With all the drawbacks concerning cellphones, students should be mandated to give their phones to their teachers in the beginning of class in order to eliminate the possibility of distraction. It is nearly impossible to completely remove cellphones from school, but measures can be put in place to moderate their usage in order to maintain the best academic experience available.