Teens and Their Phones

We all know teens love their phones. They always have their phones. Always — even when school says they can’t. Just today, my daughter told me she started writing a paper on her iPhone during class – while the teacher was lecturing about something “I already knew.” (I believe her. This class is incredibly easy and pointless.)

Ah – and her school policy is NO CELL PHONES IN CLASS. Sorry – but that’s a joke. Kids – not just mine – are using their phones all the time. Having a policy like this and not enforcing it is seriously problematic. Don’t get me wrong — I think having that policy is wrong. But it seriously undermines the school’s “authority” to have the policy but not enforce it.

Why can’t they have them? Well, in a discussion with the district’s IT director back in August 2011, she felt that since not every student had a phone, no one should get to use them. She saw no educational purpose for “regular” phones, and since few kids had smart phones, why bother? 

Ugh. Not only should the IT director NOT be making school policy, this is incredible to me. I realize just how far there was to go.

A Pew internet study from March 2012 recently showed that 1 in 4 teens, ages 14-17, have smart phones. I’m not sure it’s that high with my daughter and her friends, but she’s certainly not the only one with a smart phone.

In a recent discussion with district personnel, there was interest in doing a survey of students about their phone and internet access. To their credit, they did do a survey two years ago — but with this topic, that data is totally useless.

I will be very interested to see if the results reflect the Pew study.