This morning, we covered the story of how some public school districts have banned students from having cell phones on their grounds. Ann discussed the issue with Eugene Sanders, CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, where students are prohibited from having phones, and clinical psychologist Dr. Ruth Peters. WATCH VIDEO
I guess I'm old fashioned, but I don't really understand why some parents are so adamant about being able to contact their kids at school at a moment's notice. When I was in school, if my mom needed to get in touch with me (and it would only be in an absolute emergency), she would call the school's office, someone in the office would call my classroom, and that would be that.
To me, teachers have a difficult enough job as it is. They don't need to be dealing with kids having cell phones going off, surreptitiously texting each other, going on the Internet, and taking photos and video (not to mention the possibilities for cheating). There are enough distractions in a classroom without adding cell phones to the mix.
The bottom line is, the cell phone has become yet another item that people -- especially teenagers -- think they can't live without. But they can and should, at least when they're at school.
This story led to an email exchange I had with Jackie Levin, who is the senior publishing producer at TODAY and oversees content on allDAY. She is also the mother of two:
Speaking as a parent, the ONLY reason I would want my kid to carry a cell phone is for safety. In this day and age, with 9-11 and pedophiles running rampant, I see the cell phone as a tracking device, and I'm really not joking. I agree there is no reason kids should be using them at all, except and unless they find themselves in an emergency. Unfortunately, the world ain't what it used to be, and if I can feel a bit better as a parent knowing my child is reachable, then so be it.
Somehow, we managed to survive during the Cold War, with nuclear war a constant threat, and pedophiles have been running rampant since the beginning of time. And as someone in one of the articles about this points out, just because you, as a parent, feel safer, doesn't necessarily mean that your kid is actually any safer.
Look, whether or not they really do make the kids safer may not be proven, but as parents, we worry about so, so much to begin with, if this MAKES me feel safer and MAKES my child feel safer, then it's a good thing, BUT parents have to parent, and they need to put limits on the usage of the phones.
BTW, my kids don't carry cell phones yet, my son is almost 11 and my daughter is 8. We're considering giving him one because he's getting older, and there will be times when he's on his own after school at an activity waiting to be picked up, and I like to know I can reach him.
Well I don't think there's any question that when kids are on their own, there's a purpose to giving them cell phones. I just don't want that to be a subsitute for teaching kids about safety and how to handle themselves when they're not under parental supervision.
That said, since this story is about cell phones in school, I still think they shouldn't have them during the school day. Maybe the answer is to have kids check their phones at the front desk when they get to school and then pick them up on the way out.
hmmm, it's a thought, but how about parents teach kids not to use them during school unless there's an emergency, and then they can check up on it later and make sure the kids are following.
I think in that scenario, the teachers again become the policemen, and they've got enough to do as it is.
Do you have kids!!
You had to go there…this conversation is over.