Technologies permeate every aspect of contemporary life including education. However, while the value of computers and the Internet is undisputable, the use of smartphones at elementary schools has been widely debated (George, 2016). Some people claim that schools should keep up with the global tendencies and allow students to use their smartphones freely. These devices can be successfully used for educational purposes because they have a wifi connection and allow students to obtain information quickly. Others, however, disagree and claim that smartphones distract children from studying. They may use them to play games, surf the Internet, write messages, watch videos, etc., which inevitably interferes with the learning process. As far as I am concerned, students in elementary schools should not be allowed to have smartphones because they are simply unnecessary in this setting and at this age.
To support my argument, I need to look at both advantages and disadvantages of smartphone use at school. To begin with, proponents of these devices claim that they hold an enormous educational potential. They can be used to search for information, download educational materials, watch videos, etc. However, do elementary school children really need all this? I believe that traditional educational materials are enough at this age and that the pervasive impact of technologies may outweigh any learning benefits. As noted by Barnwell (2016), it is not clear whether smartphones improve academic outcomes, especially among children who already have low achievement levels. What if these students will use smartphones only for entertainment? How to determine the level of a safe smartphone use that will not threaten achievement? These questions highlight the need to weigh all pros and cons of using smartphones before allowing students to take them to school.
Another argument in favor of smartphones in elementary school is that they help children stay in touch with their parents. In case of any emergency, a child may call or text parents who may pick him/her at any time. Routine situations and problems are also easily handled using smartphones, which is especially important for working parents and children who struggle to get used to school. I agree that using smartphones to stay in touch with parents is indeed important for children. However, I think that strict rules should be established to ensure that students do not use their devices in the classroom. I admit that there is nothing bad in taking a smartphone to school as long as it stays in a student’s locker or a backpack. Unfortunately, it has been one of the most challenging tasks for teachers to ensure that children follow this rule.
I think that smartphone use by elementary school children should be restricted to maintain a positive school culture and atmosphere. Children need to learn that school is a place where they learn and communicate, and there is no time for entertainment and distraction. They are too small to control their behavior or realize the consequences of their actions, so parents and teachers need to put their attention in the right direction. Additionally, smartphones may be used for cyberbullying, which is equally detrimental to children’s emotional well-being as traditional bullying. Finally, smartphones themselves may become the source of bullying and discrimination because some children have more expensive and advanced smartphones than others.
Therefore, I would like to note that smartphones may be useful for students, but not in elementary school. Children at this age are too young to control their behavior, and they may find it difficult to distinguish between learning and entertainment. Smartphones distract them and lead to under-performance and poor discipline. They can also result in cyberbullying and discrimination, thus putting the least popular or disadvantaged students at risk. Elementary school should be a safe place for everyone, so the use of smartphones should be restricted to maintain a positive atmosphere.
Barnwell, P. (2016). Do smartphones have a place in the classroom? The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/04/do-smartphones-have-a-place-in-the-classroom/480231/
George, D. S. (2016). Should children get to have cellphones in elementary school? The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/should-children-get-to-have-cellphones-in-elementary-school/2016/12/07/8e3bd076-b583-11e6-b8df-600bd9d38a02_story.html?utm_term=.5219248cc25d