High school and cellphones


In 2015, research conducted by Pearson in collaboration with Harrison Poll showed that most students would like to use their cellphones in their classrooms more frequently than they do at the moment. The ease of access to electronic media has resulted in students being absolved and hence there has been a steady rise in the prevalence of smartphone use. The use of smartphones has risen in proportion, with the majority of students using smartphones in high school. For instance, in 2015, 53% of students from elementary schools used smartphones, 66% of the students were from middle school, and the highest percentages of users were high schoolers, whereby 82% of them used smartphones regularly (Poll 1-61).

The Controversy of Smartphone Usage in High School

Smartphone usage in high school has become as controversial as gun usage in high school over the years. The paper seeks to formulate arguments for and against the issue, with the conclusion giving a firm position regarding the matter.

Argument 1: Emergency Purposes

Some people say that students in high school should have the permission to use their cellphones while in school for emergency purposes. They believe that it is advisable to have students with their cellphones while at school so that in case of a fire tragedy or a terrorist attack, then students would get to alert their worried parents or guardians. That seems a good idea, however, there is no guarantee that if an emergency strikes, then students would get a chance to call their parents. In fact, the students would obviously become panic-stricken and run for their lives first. They may even lose their phones in the process of running to safety. Romeo Vitelli, a doctorate holder in Psychology from the University of Toronto, says, "Lack of information often leads to dangerous outcomes in emergencies" (Vitelli, 2014). It happens that people run helter-skelter without knowledge of why and where they are running to during emergencies, which proves to be fatal for them. Some die in the process. Thus, in a school setting, mobile phones would work less in such situations and close to zero percent of students would bother to call their parents or care where their phones are when an emergency strikes.

Argument 2: Happiness and Success

Some would say that students should get the permission to use their cellphones in school to make them happy. In 2005, research done by Ed Diener, Laura King, and Sonja Lyubomirsky concluded on the impact of happiness on success. They stated that "happiness causes success" (Poll 1-61). In simple terms, students must be happy for them to succeed. Well, it sounds easy to give students their way in return for good grades, but that might never happen. Students might be happy using their phones to chat with their friends during class hours and would never know what they learned. There will be no difference between the student who never paid attention in class and the one who missed the lecture altogether. If the examinations come, there is no way that the student who did not concentrate in class would pass their examinations. It would be difficult for them to recall whatever they revised specifically if they are taking technical subjects such as mathematics. Thus, the mere assumption that if you make students happy by allowing them to use cell phones in school will make them pass is unjustifiable.

Argument 3: Learning Aids

There is an argument that it is important to allow high school students to have their cellphones while at the school since they can use it as learning aids. Learning aids make learning easier and more enjoyable, and cellphones could act as good learning aids. Through viewing visual representations of challenging subjects such as anatomy and astronomy, students have the chance to grasp the harder concepts much more easily. However, the fact that cellphones could be used as learning aids is great but students would in most cases divert from the main reason why school authorities allowed them to carry their phones during classroom hours. Some would drown in social media while others would play games. They would be enjoying themselves instead of reading. If there is an approval of cellphone usage in school, teachers will find it hard to teach and discipline their students. It seems enjoyable to the students, but at the end, they would have wasted their classroom hours. "Computer devices have a substantial negative effect on academic performance" (Grant et al., 2015). This is according to researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who also stated that the equivalent to improving the quality of education was removing, cellphones, laptops, and iPads from the classroom environment. Poor performance is a major concern, and we must eradicate it from American high schools through prohibiting mobile phone possession in schools.

Argument 4: Preparation for the Future

People would argue that it is okay for students to use their cellphones in schools in preparation for experiences while they will be at work in future. Mobile phones are of much help to the working class, and it is very important for them to carry their phones along with them. Working people need to check their emails, inventories, read the news, among other useful things that mobile phones provide. For students to learn and get prepared for life after school, they need to learn how to use their phones responsibly. However, this is difficult, especially in high schools where some students do not know why they must study. Thus, they would spend a great deal of their time playing games over their phones or chatting with friends. Their phones cause great distractions on them. Students may even be knocked over by rogue drivers if they cross busy roads while operating their cellphones. Tom Bennet, from the ResearchED education group, says, "even the brightest students get distracted by the presence of digital devices in class" (Grant et al., 2015). A student may receive a weird message that may completely take away his or her attention, and he or she would take time before concentrating on what they were learning.


In conclusion, my position is clear that I strongly oppose the idea of allowing students to have their mobile phones in high school. Well, one may argue that it is okay if we allow high school students to use their phones in the hallways, athletic fields or the bus but restrict them from using their mobile phones in classrooms. However, that rule may fail to work since students will still carry their phones to the classroom. They may argue that they do not have any other option other than to carry their phones in class. Students have just a few years of study and many years that they would enjoy when they would be out of school. It is necessary for students not to destroy their lives just because of small pleasures such as carrying phones in schools. They should desist from that behavior. Students should as well apply common sense when judging on whether to carry a cellphone to school or not.

As stated earlier, there is no guarantee that mobile phones would be helpful during emergency situations since most people run for their lives and forget about anything else. At that time, their phones become useless and would even get lost during the process of running to safety. Students who attend high schools are mainly teenagers and may be tempted to watch pornographic clips over their phones and take funny pictures during class hours, instead of concentrating towards the lesson. Teachers would find it very hectic to control the class and hence, the best solution is banning the use of cell phones in school.


Grant, M. M., Tamim, S., Brown, D. B., Sweeney, J. P., Ferguson, F. K., & Jones, L. B. (2015). Teaching and learning with mobile computing devices: Case study in K-12 classrooms. TechTrends, 59(4), 32-45.

Poll, Harris. Pearson Student Mobile Device Survey 2015. Pearson, 2015.

Vitelli, R. (2014). The everything guide to overcoming PTSD: Simple, effective techniques for healing and recovery.

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