The boom in technological advancement particularly the rise of the smartphone has become an indispensable aspect of life. The smartphone has combined both the aspects of a personal computer and a cell phone into one device, making it efficient and portable. Coupled with internet connectivity, the smartphone has become the ideal gadget for teenagers because of the diverse access to entertainment, social media connectivity, and communication (Schrum and Levin 43). However, the smartphone has become a problem in the educational sector. The presence of smartphones in the classrooms has become a major concern because of the distraction it causes. A majority of students have become addicted to social media group chat using platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, and Facebook to keep in touch at any moment (Barnwell). Besides communication, smartphones have applications designed for gaming purposes and via internet connectivity, users can play multiplayer games with other online users. As a result, the presence of the smartphone in the classroom divides the attention of students. Some do not have the ability to multitask by listening to their teachers while using the devices. Nevertheless, smartphones can be used to enrich the educational requirements as tools for research (Tlumacki). However, they should be banned in classes because they lead to the loss of concentration.
Classroom attention is beneficial to students, especially during the student-teacher interaction. Students should always be keen on what their teachers are doing to ensure that they benefit and progress in their academics. The purpose of a teacher is to deliver course concepts in the simplest way and ensure that students fully comprehend gain knowledge. However, the presence of a smartphone in the classroom denies students the ability to fully concentrate during teaching sessions. Smartphones have numerous entertainment options such as gaming, listening to music, online chats, and social media connectivity. As such, when the instructor is teaching, some students use their phones under the locker pretending to be attentive. There have also been cases where students receive a voice or video call during class sessions, an aspect that distracts other students as well. According to Doward, "schools that have imposed a smartphone ban experience better academic performance than their counterparts" Therefore, smartphones in high school should be banned since teenagers are easily distracted by petty issues like online presence.
The presence of smartphones in high schools promotes the vise of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying takes occurs while using information technology-driven communication devises. Smartphones create an opportunity for worrying misbehaviors due to the access to apps that can be used to cause harm to other students. For instance, the app called "Enemy Graph" allows users to pick Facebook friends and list them as foes and as soon a user is blacklisted, a notification that is visible to everyone appears on their profile (Carr, et al. 26). Such apps create social dissonance on social media platforms such as Facebook. Apart from that, smartphones have cameras that can be used to record humiliating scenarios that happen in school. These scenarios are edited and immediately uploaded on online video streaming channels such as Facebook and shared widely. Likewise, the app Ugly Meter uses the phone's camera to scan facial patterns and contours and rate them on a scale of 1-100. The results are then shared online via Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat among other platforms. Moreover, smartphones promote anonymous texting because users use apps that mask their identity. Anonymous texting is used to threaten, harass or stalk other phone users promoting cyberbullying (Hinduja 76). The victims lose confidence and their self-esteem which affects them psychologically and emotionally since they become the topic of discussion in schools (Volkova 55). Since teenagers are highly receptive to emotions, it affects the academic performance. Any form of bullying be it physical or through technology should not be tolerated in high school. Therefore, the tools, gadgets or devises that promote cyberbullying should be banned in schools.
Smartphones in high school tempt students into committing immoral behavior. The devices can in different brands such as Apple and Samsung, and in different capabilities. Some devices have better specifications in terms of the camera capabilities, RAM and ROM specifications as well as pricing (Synnott 55). Students may be tempted to steal better phones such as the latest iPhone 7s or Samsung S8 from their colleagues due to performance and price value. On the other hand, the changing forms of terrorism where groups such ISIS are recruiting teenagers online is alarming (Synnott 66). The rising cases of school shootings perpetrated by fellow students could be as a result of pressure online or accessing violent phone games. Therefore, the presence of smartphones undermines the purpose of education and should be banned.
On the contrary, the presence of smartphones in high school can be used to enrich education. Smartphones have access to the internet and students can use them to access online databases and libraries for classroom research (Tlumacki). Research is an integral factor of education because it teaches students how to evaluate sources and compose well-thought academic papers. Furthermore, there are apps designed for foreign language learning accessible on both Android and Apple devises that enhance pronunciation, spelling, and vocabulary as well as science and mathematics (Limbrick 33). Furthermore, groups are essential for teaching students the importance of teamwork. As such, a teacher can create an online portal or discussion board where students discuss course materials using their smartphones during and after classes, hence promoting social learning. Therefore, the presence of smartphones in high school helps to enhance learning.
However, studies indicate that high-level smartphone uses in high school teenagers is detrimental to academic performance because it is dominated by entertainment but not learning. This is true especially for students with the low academic performance from all backgrounds since they are susceptible than high-performing peers. Freed states that low-achieving students use the smartphones for noneducational purposes as a means of escaping the academic frustrations. A Stanford University study stipulates that when an instructor designs instructions for access to the computer, students get better results than when using a smartphone (Petersen 88).
In conclusion, smartphones have become a part of life and there has been a rising number of teenage users. The presence of smartphones in high school is detrimental to the learning process. Smartphones act as distracters because teenagers use them mainly for entertainment purposes, chatting, and gaming. As a result, the devices have an addictive capability that distracts students from paying attention to their teachers. Smartphones affect the academic performance of students even if they can be utilized for learning materials and class discussion forums. Smartphones also encourage immoral behavior such as cyberbullying through anonymous messaging and apps such as the Ugly Meter that has a negative impact on the victims' self-esteem. Moreover, there are numerous dangers of the internet connectivity due to the rise of cyberterrorism exposing high school students to the probability of radicalization. In summation, smartphones should be banned in high schools because the benefits outweigh the limitations.
Barnwell, Paul. "Do Smartphones Have a Place in the Classroom?" The Atlantic, www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/04/do-smartphones-have-a-place-in-the-classroom/480231/.
Carr, Peter F, et al. School Law: Social Media and Apps, Cyberbullying, Privacy and Other Technology Issues. National Business Institute, 2018.
Doward, Jamie. "Schools That Ban Mobile Phones See Better Academic Results." The Guardian, 2 Dec. 2017, www.theguardian.com/education/2015/may/16/schools-mobile-phones-academic-results.
Freed, Richard. "Why Phones Don't Belong in School." The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 13 Apr. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-freed/why-phones-dont-belong-in-school_b_9666730.html.
Hinduja, Sameer. "Smartphone Apps and Bullying." Cyberbullying Research Center, 5 Nov. 2012, cyberbullying.org/smartphone-apps-and-bullying.
Limbrick, Daniel. "WORK IN PROGRESS: Teaching Broadly-Applicable STEM Skills to High School Sophomores Using Linux and Smartphones." 2016
ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings, Petersen, Sharon. Technology in the Classroom. Weber State University, 2013.
Schrum, Lynne R, and Barbara B. Levin. Leading 21st Century Schools: Harnessing Technology for Engagement and Achievement. SAGE Publications, 2015.
Synnott, Kevin. "Smartphones in the Classroom: Students' Misperceptions." SSRN Electronic Journal, 2017.
Synnott, Kevin. "Smartphones in the Classroom: The Pros and Cons." SSRN Electronic Journal, 2018.
Tlumacki, John. "Cellphones in School: a Teaching Tool or Distraction? - The Boston Globe." BostonGlobe.com, The Boston Globe, 16 June 2015, www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/style/2015/06/15/cellphones-school-teaching-tool-distraction/OzHjXyL7VVIXV1AEkeYTiJ/story.html.
Volkova, Irina. "Mental Health of Teenagers Participating At School Bullying." 2017, Doi:10.15405/epsbs.2017.12.46.
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