Response: Jake Mooney

Should Phones Be Banned in Schools? Learn more about the article and prompt.

Jake Mooney is a student at Brooklyn College

It’s very easy to point at the newest piece of technology and go “This! THIS is the cause of all our problems!” We have seen this time and time again in an almost Sisyphean cycle of fearing what’s new, but I don’t think the technology is solely to blame. Cell phones at their core are devices for enhanced communication and consumption; how people use them depends on how those people communicate. I would argue that cell phones on their own are not the problem, but rather how we communicate with each other using this technology and the general lack of media literacy education on how to best use them.

Like I said, pointing the finger at what’s new is the tried and true method, but it may be time to examine the current climate we live in rather than try to anticipate the future. I think the “phone-free school” approach is quite absurd. Banning phones in schools may help some students focus better, but when school ends and the phone lockers/pouches open, the problems we see with kids and cell phones come back tenfold. Rather than enforcing phoneless school days, we need to teach our children how to navigate this ever-complicating media landscape so it doesn’t overwhelm them when the school day ends. Media literacy education is more than just explaining how the media landscape works, but how it relates to you. One thing I like to keep in mind is that it is everybody’s first time going through life, and thus, everyone is relatively new to cell phone culture. 

Many parents, teachers, etc. try their best to explain the current media landscape to their children despite having a weak grasp on the systems at play. Before we educate our children about cell phones, we have to educate our adults. As adults, we should know what’s going on better than our children, but most of these children already have more knowledge on the subject by sheer exposure. Rather than parents being pedantic about what they think they know, they should be open to the idea of communicating with and learning from their children. It’s okay for the adults not to have all the answers so long as we listen to the youth that do.

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The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NAMLE or its members. The purpose of these responses are to highlight our members and give them a place to share their reflections, opinions, and ideas.