Cell phones should be banned in school

Study group blog

How useful is a cell phone ban in schools?

France bans smartphones in schools. A has been in effect since September 2018 Legal complete ban on all internet-enabled devices - and since then the topic has been on everyone's lips. Admittedly, this topic was in no way relevant when I was at school. I got my first cell phone at the age of 13 - that is, in seventh grade. I hardly ever used it. At most, to let my mother know if I came late or had finished school early. At some point the great time of SMS came, but since you had to pay around 10 cents for each text message, that was also limited. My first real smartphone was only available when I graduated from high school.

But today it looks very different: According to the JIM study 2018, whole 97 percent of all young people between the ages of 12 and 19 have their own smartphone. A considerable number. Of course, the usage looks very different than with the cell phones of that time. While I used to have a downright panic attack if I accidentally hit the ominous Internet button and lost 1.99 euros per minute from my credit, today it is a matter of course to surf the Internet via smartphone. Obtaining information, exchanging ideas on social networks, watching videos or playing a game - it is commonplace for today's young people. Smartphones are part of the reality of their lives. So it is only logical that they take their smartphones with them to school, where they spend a large part of their day.

But how useful is it to take a smartphone with you? Doesn't that tend to distract the youngsters? Or can the smartphone have a positive use in teaching? The most important pros and cons of smartphone opponents and supporters at a glance:

What speaks for a cell phone ban in schools

Smartphones are distracting. Taking smartphones to school tempts students to use the device for private purposes. WhatsApp, Instagram and Co. are on the schedule - less attention is paid to the teacher. Both concentration and attention suffer.

Smartphones help with cheating. Thanks to the rapid acquisition of information, you no longer need to think about yourself. The smartphone gives the young people all the relevant data. Teachers have few options for control.

Interpersonal communication suffers. Instead of direct communication, the students prefer to choose the virtual route. There is paddling in the schoolyard and people sharing information on social networks.

Bullying is supported. For many, the smartphone is a status symbol. Young people who do not have a modern or up-to-date smartphone or perhaps do not have one at all are disadvantaged. So-called cyber bullying can also be supported by taking a smartphone with you.

Social media show an illusory world. Quickly distribute a like on Facebook or upload the best of 50 pictures taken on Instagram - everyone is at their best on social networks. But not everything that is shared on social media corresponds to reality. A ban on cell phones at schools sometimes pulls young people out of their social media fake world.

The dependence on the smartphone is increased. The smartphone is already a constant companion. The ban on smartphones in schools teaches young people that you don't have to be available all the time and that it is okay to be “offline” from time to time.

The smartphone serves as the only source. In this way, dealing with other sources is simply forgotten.

What speaks against a cell phone ban in schools

Smartphones as added value for the classroom. Many schools are equipped with little digital equipment. Smartphones can be used quickly and easily in class for research work. In this way, current topics can also be dealt with in class.

Media skills and media education are trained. Correct use of smartphones should be part of the lesson. The young people have to learn to be sensitive to their own data and to question sources of information. In addition, other possible uses should be shown - smartphones are not just a fun object.

The thinking skills of young people are promoted. Discussions about how to use smartphones critically are used to train the students' own thinking skills. You actively learn to question things.

Smartphones help to motivate young people. The use of the smartphone is simply part of the reality of life for the students. If the smartphone is actively integrated in schools, it can also have a positive effect on young people in terms of motivation.

A ban makes the smartphone even more attractive. In spite of everything, schoolchildren take their cell phones with them and use them secretly in the school yard or even in class.

Better control options for teachers. If the smartphone is actively included in the lesson, it is clearly visible on the students' desks. In this way, teachers can even better control cell phone use.

Digitization cannot be stopped. It is part of our lives and will only progress even more in the future. The fact that the smartphone is also integrated into the school is therefore only contemporary and prepares schoolchildren for the digitized world.

Ultimately, the arguments for and against a smartphone ban show that this is undoubtedly a sensitive and difficult topic that will continue to lead to heated discussions in the future. So far (February 2019) there are in Germany, a cell phone ban in schools only in Bavariawhich is anchored in the law. It remains to be seen whether other federal states will follow suit - or whether Germany will even use France as an example. So the smartphone cannot be banned from our schools quite so quickly for the time being.