Mobile phone use in schools by students has become a controversial topic debated by parents and teachers. Parents who support the use of cell phones believe that these phones are essential for safety by allowing children to communicate with their parents and guardians. Opponents of students using mobile phones during school believe that mobile phones cause disruption and may be used inappropriately such as by cheating on tests, taking inappropriate photographs, and playing mobile games. Rather than paying attention to teachers, students are spending more time distracted by their phones.
To prevent distractions caused by mobile phones, some schools have implemented policies that restrict students from using their phones during school hours. Some administrators have attempted cell phone jamming, but this practice is illegal in certain jurisdictions. The software can be used in order to monitor and restrict phone usage to reduce distractions and prevent unproductive use. However, these methods of regulation raise concerns about privacy violations and abuse of power.
Mobile phones with cameras are restricted within school premises while entirely banned within certain sections such as changing rooms, bathrooms, gyms, and swimming pools. They are only allowed to film or take photographs of people only with their signed permission or, if the person is under eighteen, to have a parent or guardian to give a sign permission note allowing for these actions. If a student is found with a mobile phone or devices within these areas, they will be confiscated; and, depending on the situation, charges or consequences will be given.
Mobile phones are not allowed to be used for sending harassing or threatening messages. If a student does commit such an act, higher authorities will become involved, including the police since this being a violation of privacy and harassment. Due to bullying, privacy and harassment issues being a major issue in Australia, if a student or teacher does break this law, it may leave them with a criminal record, leaving them at a disadvantage in the future.
Technology in schools is becoming a common academic feature throughout many grade levels and age groups. The creation of messaging applications helps support this boom of phone usage in schools. An advantage of messaging apps is their easy usage and accessibility for students, teachers, and parents These apps make efficient communication easier for parents with disabilities, parents with demanding full-time jobs, or parents with language barriers. One disadvantage to cell phone usage in schools is that not all students and parents have this technology available to them. This can cause a socioeconomic gap between students who have cell phones and computers and those who do not.
Another problem is that the ease of sharing of information can lead to academic dishonesty. Colleges and universities, in particular, have had many issues with academic dishonesty by digital sharing of tests and other sensitive materials. As a result, these institutions are becoming more strict with their policies and increasing the severity of consequences for committing plagiarism and other acts of academic dishonesty.
With time, messaging applications will be consistently improved. If administrators, teachers, and policy-makers work hard to minimize both student and parent entitlement, set communication boundaries, state expectations early, and reinforce student responsibility, some of the problems caused by messaging apps can be reduced or eliminated