Cell phones are increasingly common, and it is not unusual to see school-age children with their own personal piece of cellular technology. Some may worry that this is a sign that society is too dependent on technology, while others may simply see this is as a sign of the times. Parents may be tempted to give their child a cell phone when they head back to school, but there are some things to consider.
Do they actually need a phone?
The word “need” is obviously relative, but it is a valid question. Most parents will suggest that their parents need a phone so that they can get in touch with them. However, parents forget that somehow schools have functioned for many years without cell phones. In addition, even with budget cuts most schools still have working phones and systems for getting messages to students.
What will they do with the phone?
The reality is that many parents are tragically absent or unaware, and a cell phone may simply be a way to ward off the possibility that their child may be an outsider due to a lack of social equipment. Parents need to realize that the cell phone may be a useful piece of communications equipment, but it can also be a temptation to spend many hours texting and surfing the Internet.
What is school policy?
Before sending a child to school with a phone, it is often best to check the school policy. Some schools ban cell phones altogether, while other institutions allow them as long as they are not turned on during school hours. Again, it is the parents’ responsibility to understand school policy and make decisions that model a sense of compliance to their children.
Are parents willing to follow the policy?
Granted, there are plenty of parents who are unwilling to follow school rules, and they may manifest this unwillingness by sending a cell phone to school with their student even if it is against the rules. What many parents fail to realize is that this sends a subtle message to the student that following rules may be optional if they are inconvenient. While a cell phone may be a convenient way to communicate with students, parents should think through cost, policies, student behavior, and alternative forms of communication. In addition, there is always the possibility that families could plan ahead and avoid the need to make last-minute decisions.
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