Response: Sofia Canonge

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

Sofia is a student at Brooklyn College.

In his article featured in The Atlantic, NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt claims that phone usage at school and during class hours is highly detrimental for students and should ultimately be strictly banned on school premises. Haidt’s main arguments are that students experience a decline in their studies, social interactions, and mental health when they spend time on their mobile devices while attending school. He suggests that the government should take action on this issue and immediately prohibit cell phones on school grounds nationwide.

While Haidt’s claims are worthy of reflection, and the research he has conducted along with his psychology colleagues and college pupils on the topic is appreciated, in my eyes, his proposal of banning phones at school merely serves as a temporary solution to a bigger problem that should be addressed–misuse of technology in society. 

Instead of viewing students’ use of mobile devices as a threat in schools, we should begin to take advantage of the youth’s interest in technology and create more interactive, engaging, and accessible educational content on the mentioned mobile devices. This could motivate students to utilize the technology in their hands as an attractive learning resource/tool rather than merely a distraction and escape from schoolwork. 

I remember when I was a high school student a couple of years back, sneaking glances at my phone and browsing through social media secretly after becoming bored with my teacher’s long lectures. As a teenager, it didn’t matter if my cell phone use could lead to punishments such as confiscation or detention; I only sought an escape from exhaustive lessons. As an adult, I realized that technology and our mobile devices shouldn’t only be seen as that–an escape from our reality, or that our use be shamed and frowned upon in a constantly evolving world where technological advancement is needed. 

Society should embrace our technological progress and try to use it correctly and to our most benefit. How do we do that? Avoid approaching issues with constant judgment and punishments as solutions, in this case, when we utilize resources that have been MADE for us to use, especially judgment targeted to our youth who are merely trying to survive and adapt in a constantly changing society. 

Perhaps Haidt should view students’ constant mobile device interest and usage as an opportunity to capture our youth’s attention and encourage creativity, simplify group work, and boost problem-solving skills by creating innovative educational programs, platforms, and resources available on their mobile devices. An idea that would promote better mobile device usage in students, in this case for a greater cause–engaging and innovative education, rather than only viewing it as a distraction that deserves immediate bans.

Should Phones Be Banned in Schools? Read more responses.

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.