The Place of Smartphones in Schools

With the advancement in Technology, accessibility to mobile phones become much easier and affordable especially smartphones with incredible apps. It is no doubt that smartphones has contributed positively in various ways of making living easier and simplified certain difficult tasks, which we can easily carried out with less difficulties. However, the important question is, have we properly given the use of smartphones its right place in the society? Have abused the use and wrongly prioritized the way we handle smartphones? What is its right place in a child’s upbringing? Have we compromised its numerous benefits to our disadvantages without even knowing the mess?

While you ponder on the above questions, let’s enumerate negative impact of smartphones in schools and other learning environment, which is the main focus of this article.

Do we really need Mobile Phones during School hour?

It is no doubt that students are not going to concentrate on their studies when they have mobile phones. This could results into low grades in exams and being lazy in class, as one can’t do both at the same time – i.e. using mobile phones especially smartphones and at the same time trying to listen and understand what the teacher is saying.

One could argue that smartphones help in research and communication purpose, however, a good study environment would have provided research aids facility for good research results other than smartphones because that’s what made them an institution of learning or a school environment. Or a student in school may need to contact with the family in case of emergency, which the student can easily go to the responsible office and use their phone; or parents who can easily fine them because a student is supposed to always be in a certain class at any point in time.

Why is this very important for Educators and School Owners?

Most teens are out of control with the use of smartphones, which makes them addicted to them. So the important step is getting your teens have control over their smartphones and not being controlled by it as long as they are of a right age. Smartphones should mostly be used education purpose aside communication instead of going to social media or internet for bad stuff. More so, accessing Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, etc. during class hour is unnecessary because you will not pay attention to listen to the teachers in class, subject and eventually fail your test.

Abuse of smartphones in school can create an attitude of cheating during exams and passing by cheating. This because significant time which should be studies are now being used for chatting with friends, play games and engaged in irrelevant activities online. Students in various schools regularly sneak around on their phones, being isolated from others and trying to hide them from teachers; challenges that need to be addresses in our schools so as to minimize the negative impact on students.

Various Research Studies on Smartphone use in Schools

Many researches have also proven that abnormal use of smartphones can be dangerous to health because people tend to use it in darkness and placing it close to their eyes, which make the eyes weaker and poor eyesight.

Teens are getting cyber bullied in schools and teachers can’t do anything about it when studies have shown that teenagers spend at least six (6) hours a day on smartphones which doesn’t include school hours or doing homework.

  • A 2015 study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior demonstrated that among undergraduate students total usage of mobile phones, measured in number of minutes per day and not limited to school time, was “a significant and negative predictor of college students’ academic performance, which was objectively measured as cumulative GPA.”Moreover, the abundant use of mobile technology among young people largely explains the inadequate use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in both personal and school environments. Consequently, actions have to be taken that contribute to more responsible use of this type of technology in students’ personal, school, and social lives.
  • Smartphone use in class impairs students’ comprehension and performance.In 2015, Dakota Lawson and Bruce B. Henderson performed a study to examine the relationship between mobile phone use in class and information comprehension. The study involved 120 students from an introductory psychology course, mostly first-year students. The result showed that students who were texting in class had significantly lower test scores even when the material that was presented was simple: This study was performed after several similar studies in the past and corroborated their results.
  • The effect of Facebook-related distractions in the classroom has been established in a research by Julia Irwin and Natasha Gupta of Macquarie University, who performed an experiment in 2016. The researchers found that students who were interested in the subject material and the way it was presented were less likely to be distracted by Facebook. However, the students with access to phones still performed poorer than students that were not allowed access to cell phones during the lecture. This has a similar result with a 2017 collective study, published by Applied Cognitive Psychology, which indicated that college students retained less knowledge when allowed to use or possess a cell phone during lectures. During the experiment also, students who were not allowed access to a cell phone tested better than those who had access to cell phones.

We should be conscious of social abuses as a result of smartphone uses. Educators should embark on creating awareness on the dangers of smartphone use during learning and ensure that proper controls are in place to checkmate the challenges. Educators should also strike a balance between education support benefits of using smartphones in class, such as providing academic support for digital access to textbooks, scholarly material, etc. and dangers enumerated above .

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