Meg Meeker, M.D.
Parents, Pleeeaaase don’t let your kids go to school with their cell phones!
I know that you want them to be able to call you whenever they want. I know that you don’t want them to feel deprived or different from their peers. I know that they need help if they miss the bus. And I really understand that you don’t want to deal with the temper tantrums they will throw if you take the phone away.
But let me tell you what you’re allowing to happen to them when the phones go to school with them. I know this because they tell me all the time.
7 Reasons Kids, Cell Phones, and School Just Don’t Mix
When kids take their cell phones to school …
… They have a very hard time keeping on task.
Whether kids are 10 or 18, concentrating on boring schoolwork is tough, even if your child doesn’t have ADD. Phones tempt them to text one another in class, peek on Facebook, look things up on Google, and even cheat on their work. So when the phone’s in the pocket, half of their mind really isn’t there.
… You give creepy people full access to your son or daughter.
Yup. You think that your kids reach out only to kids they know. But the reality is, thousands upon thousands of people, many of whom have awful intentions, can access your son or daughter and see what they’re doing.
Sorry, but school Internet filters aren’t always good enough, so don’t put security in those. So ask yourself, do you really want some creepy guy to have access to your daughter’s private world? If you don’t believe me, take a trip to your local police office and ask one of them.
… You’re breaking a strong command that God issued us.
“Lead us not into temptation” is part of the Lord’s Prayer because God knew we needed help. Christ didn’t say, “it would be really nice if you helped us avoid being tempted, God” he said “Lead us not to that place” and he tells Peter (and us) in Matthew 26 to “watch and pray” so that we may not enter into temptation.
So let me ask you, when you send the cell phone to school, aren’t you directly leading your son or daughter into temptation? He will be distracted from his/her work, tempted to gossip online or look at tawdry things for starters. Be honest. Is that what you really want to do?
… You show disrespect to your child’s teacher.
By letting your daughter bring her phone, you are allowing her to turn her attention from her studies onto her phone. This is outright rude to her teachers.
How would you like it if you prepared lessons, got to work early to get ready for your students, stood in front of the class and gave lessons, and a student pulled out her phone and tuned you out? I hope that you would be offended and hurt. That’s how many teachers feel.
… You increase your child’s frustration level tenfold.
When a child is 10, 15, or 18, he is cognitively immature. He is not able to reason in an abstract fashion. In other words, he has difficulty believing that if he fails in school this year, he will have limited options later in life. And, he has real difficulty disciplining his mind to attend to matters at hand.
While he’s in school, he tries to discipline his mind to focus on his studies and achieve something bigger for himself but since he lacks full mental maturity to do so, he gets very frustrated. Then, he feels like a failure because he can’t make his body and mind do what he really wants them to do. He relies on you, the adult, to help him do this. The best way for you to help is to do the adult thinking for him and make a path to success clear for him. This means, limit things (his cell phone) in his path, which sabotage his efforts to succeed.
… You encourage him to bend to peer pressure.
Kids want cell phones because their friends have them. Period. When you give in to letting her have one at school, you’re saying, “Peer pressure’s Ok. It’s good to be just like everyone else.”
But what happens when the friends that you’ve encouraged her to be like decide to get drunk on weekends? How in the world are you going to be able to say she shouldn’t? You’ve just taught her to be just like them.
… You encourage your son to live in a world that is private from the family.
Cell phones and computers allow our kids to live in worlds we can’t see. This is not only dangerous for them, but it also drives a wedge between us and them. By giving them more frequent access to this private world, we sanction their living in it. This brings nothing healthy to our relationship with them. When we should be working to make our relationships with our kids stronger, we actually weaken them by encouraging them to live secretly from us.
These seven reasons are just for starters but you get my point. Cell phones going to school with your child or teenager bring nothing but trouble, so take a tough stand. I promise, one day (but not soon) your son or daughter will thank you with all their heart. And so will their teachers.
Photo Credit: Ryan J. Nicholson via Compfight cc
Meg Meeker, M.D.