Cellphones: Is it safe for children to have them in school?

(NewsNation) — Parents have been sending their children to school and extracurricular activities with cellphones to be able to reach them in the case of an emergency. But could that very device actually be making children less safe in dangerous situations?

A new article in The Boston Globe explores whether it can be unhealthy for children to be constantly reachable. It has sparked the great cellphone debate: Do cellphones actually help keep kids safe?

With school shootings on the rise across the U.S., parents and school districts are struggling to balance the use of cellphones in the classroom.

It gives parents a sense of relief to know they can communicate with their children in an emergency situation. Plus, the new-age technology can supplement student’s learning.

However, access to a cellphone during the school day can also be a distraction.

Psychologist Dr. Lisa Strohman said having a cellphone in school will not do much to protect students’ safety and can even interfere with systems in place to respond to potential acts of violence. It could even make children an even bigger target in the event of a real-life active shooting situation if the phone’s sound goes off.

“What I see, most recently, is that a text message, a cellphone is not going to help a student in a safety issue. We’re sending our children to schools that we would hope to trust. And we have adults, and we have processes in place,” Strohman said.

Strohman said that some examples of this can be the misinformation coming out from students who are in panic situations. The usage of cellphones could also potentially overwhelm a school’s Wi-Fi if the students are using that Wi-Fi. That’s something that the school needs available, particularly for emergency responders who are coming into the situation, she said.

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“We have to know and understand that every school system in the U.S. has a threat assessment protocol in place to keep children safe. So, I just really feel like the actual part of us having contact with our kids is really more about our reassurance and not trusting those systems,” Strohman said.

While Dr. Devorah Heitner, the author of “Growing Up in Public: The Coming of Age in a Digital World,” agrees cellphones are not a tool for protection, she said it’s inevitable that children will have cellphones at schools given how necessary they are to use in everyday life.

Heitner argues parents should only be texting their children while they are at school in absolute emergencies, and remind them to stay off their phones while class is in session.

“I think it’s unrealistic to expect most kids, especially in high school but even in some cases middle school, to go to school without phones, because they really are using them after school to negotiate,” Heitner said.

The way the world runs today, it’s almost inevitable that children will need their phones at some point. Heitner used QR codes to get into school events or coaches sending reminders to their teams as an example of this.

“I think just reminding students that it probably should be off most of the day. If they want to use it at lunch, they should also remember to talk to their friends in person,” Heitner said.

Parents magazine ran an informal poll on its Facebook page earlier this month, asking whether parents think cellphones should be completely banned in all schools. The responses showed a glimpse into the minds of the modern-day parent.

The majority of parents said cellphones should not be outright banned, but usage should be limited during classes.

Read original article here

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