Education, News

Should Cell Phones Be Allowed In The Classroom?

Cell phones are everywhere and have undeniably become an integral part of everyday life. Everyone from teens to seniors seems to have one on their person —  even toddlers know how to use them for games and entertainment!  Just a few years ago, cell phones were simply used to speak with someone. Now their functions reach far beyond verbal communication to email, texting, entertainment and so much more.

Yet, cell phones can also be problematic or creators of untenable situations. Now, many localities have enacted legislation to prevent distracted driving — talking, texting or using apps while driving. Theaters ask patrons to silence them or turn them off. Libraries frown on the ringing and use of cell phones on their premises. And, of course, schools question the benefits of having a cell phone in class, particularly when they can be a distraction from instruction. Should cell phones be allowed at school? Can they have an instructional purpose in the classroom?

Should cell phones be allowed in the classroom? Bryan McDonald/Flickr

The argument for cell phones

Cell phones have long been favored by parents as a means of keep track of their children and to reach them in case of an emergency. If a child has a medical issue or there is a situation at school, cell phones make it far easier to reach parents. Yet, these uses do not translate to student learning in the classroom.

Teachers can include cell phones and other portable technology in the classroom to aid their instruction. In fact, cell phones, which are now endlessly versatile, can be an excellent teaching resource for many reasons:

  • Cell phones can be used to help children with disabilities effectively communicate and learn
  • Certain apps and website blockers connected to campus wifi give teachers and administrators control over what sites students cannot access at school
  • An increasing number of education apps are being developed and improved upon to help incorporate more interactivity into the learning process
  • Students are intimately familiar with and fond of their cell phones. Teachers can use this interest to encourage learning
  • The classroom is a great place for students to learn about cell phone etiquette and how to stay safe when using technology

The argument against cell phones

In the classroom, cell phones can become a problem for a number of reasons.

  • A ringing or vibrating cell phone is disruptive and can be rude if it occurs during instruction
  • Texting and communicating via social media has become a way of life for many young people. This type of constant communication in class is distracting to the student and those around them, and can be harder for an instructor to manage than passing notes in class.
  • Cell phones can also been used to help individuals cheat on exams because of their small size and access to endless information. The increased pressure to do well on tests makes this seem like a viable option.
  • They can also be a mechanism for cyberbullying and the harassment of other students. The constant access to social media and to each other enables students to spread information or photos very quickly, which can make life unbearable for those being harassed. Rumors or something embarrassing about a teacher or classmate can be spread instantly.

It be innocent, on purpose, or the result of boredom, but an action taken on a cell phone can result in serious consequences.

Who should decide?

The pros and cons of using cell phones in the classroom are clear. But, who should decide if and when to allow them at school or in the classroom?

  • The ministry or national government body
  • The state governmental body
  • The local or district board of education
  • Each school
  • Each teacher


Cell phones can be positive teaching tools, but they can also be detrimental to the environment in the classroom. While they can save a life, they can also destroy one. However they may appear, it is essential that children and youths learn about the reality of cell phones. In doing so, they can make more positive choices on how and when they use these devices.

Photo:  A student uses a cell phone in class. Credit: Bryan McDonald / Flickr

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The Author

Mary Brown

Mary Brown

Mary Brown has enjoyed writing about education and finance related topics, such as scholarships, student loans, college, vocational degree choices, and adult education since the early 2000's. She also writes about school budgets, accreditation and fundraising.


  1. money
    May 19, 2021 at 1:03 pm — Reply

    i dont think that kids do need there phones because the school gives them laptops n they already have calculators at school so it rlly dont make sense to me lmfaoo

  2. Jamie
    March 9, 2021 at 6:16 am — Reply

    I agree with you.

  3. U
    February 19, 2021 at 9:23 am — Reply

    So basically I think that ppl who use phones in class and school are going to have a bad future and will live on the side of the street with no money.

  4. A*** S*****
    February 18, 2021 at 8:20 am — Reply

    I think phones should be allowed on certain conditions like after all your work is done or when everyone is finished with their work. If a student needed a calculator, they should be allowed to use their phone instead. What if it was necessary for a specific class? For example, you are in science class and you need a timer because you are testing something in a lab. people don’t just carry a stopwatch around with them everyday, and not everyone has a fancy wristwatch that has a timer on it. A prime example of when you would need your phone in class because if student’s phones were confiscated, they wouldn’t be able to participate in class. There are many benefits to having a phone in class, along with many downsides. Yes students could be cheating on a test but phones would be with the teacher or in the student’s backpack when taking a test, quiz, ect. Phones should be a privilege after all school work is completed. Students would do their work must better and possibly more efficiently if they knew that using their phone was a reward.

  5. January 25, 2021 at 9:18 am — Reply

    I use my phone in school all the time and my teacher doesn’t even know

  6. Raven
    April 16, 2019 at 7:51 am — Reply

    Although there are many pros and cons of having cell phones in school why don’t you grow up and give the students some respect just because a few people do wrong with there cell phones doesn’t mean everyone will some schools cant afford Chromebooks but most people have phones so instead of being hypocritical just thing of all the school shooting how many were there last year alone? 12! 12 school shootings innocent lives taken what if some of those kids had a way to contact someone do you think it would have helped? So instead of trying to act smart understand the facts and the facts are that there are many pros and cons of having phones in the classroom but the cons are all stupid most of the cons children are going to do any way. Do you think a cyber bully is just going to bully them in the classroom? NO! Whenever a child is getting cyber bullied in the classroom the child/teen can go to a trusted adult at that very second so unless you want to be proven wrong id just keep quiet.

    • mike
      February 4, 2020 at 12:33 pm — Reply


  7. Sam Lexa
    March 6, 2019 at 1:51 pm — Reply

    I think it all matters what grade you are in and how well you can focus on your school work.

  8. Sarah
    February 1, 2019 at 2:18 pm — Reply

    I think at this point it is pretty clear that we cannot do without cell phones in the class room. For better or worse.

  9. Jason
    May 16, 2018 at 5:58 am — Reply

    Teachers should let kids use there phone what if the kid is in danger he/she will have to call the cops or his/her family

    • Navera
      June 12, 2018 at 11:50 am — Reply

      Thanks for your reply we will get back to you I understand my kid used it everyday.

  10. May 14, 2018 at 12:10 pm — Reply

    […] regularly. Of course, with the increasing popularity of cell phone among students comes the sharply contested debate as to whether or not they should be allowed in […]

  11. SaucyChild
    March 14, 2018 at 10:03 am — Reply

    Yeah, I think phones should be allowed in schools. Like, what if there’s an emergency, and your parents are worried about you? How would you communicate without having to use the teachers phone on a phone call?

  12. Teresa
    March 10, 2018 at 6:10 am — Reply

    Cell phones should be checked in at start of day. When kids check into school. They can use at lunch time. Pickup after school. Bulling has got worse with cell phones. Because the issue is sent to everyone they know all jump in on issue. Many things would get settled and not got to extremes if no cell phones during school hours. And when the pediatric community is looking at gaming as a disability we need to look at issues of cell phones in school.

    • Logan
      June 11, 2018 at 9:42 am — Reply


  13. Joel M.
    February 14, 2018 at 9:28 am — Reply

    The school may have limited wifi but that doesn’t mean students could use there mobile data.

  14. Bryan
    January 30, 2018 at 10:40 am — Reply

    What people do not realize is that people using them for bad things will still use them for bad things. To also reduce the numbers of wrong uses is to put punishments on wrong uses.

  15. dibble7
    December 18, 2017 at 10:55 am — Reply

    True, true. but in ROMS you can use your phone at lunch and other specific times…

  16. Me
    November 25, 2017 at 12:03 pm — Reply

    School is for learning not socializing. Phones can be used outside of school but the shouldn’t be used in school.

  17. Ederine
    September 17, 2017 at 2:45 am — Reply

    Students should bring electronic devices to school. It is just like water. All living things need water to survive. Hence, students also need electronic devices to survive.

    • kashish
      November 10, 2017 at 9:06 am — Reply

      Well,if electronic devices were seriously equivalent to water,then I wonder how have earlier generations been able to survive!!!😐😐😐

    • Chloe
      November 25, 2017 at 12:01 pm — Reply

      If you have ever heard of the wants and needs of a living human, you would know that water is a need because we would die without it. A cell phone is a want. Our species has survived thousands of years without the use of any technology. We don’t need a phone to survive. Our survival does not depend on whether we are able to post a picture on Instagram or not.

    • Marie
      December 13, 2019 at 10:01 am — Reply

      I agree

  18. R Donald
    September 17, 2017 at 2:38 am — Reply

    Imagine small size kid to carry thick textbook, cant you consider for them? They are too weak so students should bring electronic devices to school.

  19. Jemma
    June 1, 2017 at 2:30 pm — Reply

    I think phones should be allowed bec. If you forget somthing @ home your parents could bring it to school for you.

  20. Bob Jones
    April 11, 2017 at 11:58 am — Reply

    I think phones should be allowed in school.

  21. kiwi
    March 8, 2017 at 7:26 am — Reply


    • Alex henning
      May 19, 2017 at 6:21 am — Reply

      that would cause a distraction to the class just like fidget spinners

    • Alex
      May 22, 2017 at 6:29 am — Reply

      He/she has a point

    • mineturtle
      May 25, 2017 at 6:12 am — Reply

      kiwi makes a point

    • random person
      October 19, 2017 at 9:00 am — Reply

      not all people have apple phones

  22. Jessie
    March 2, 2017 at 9:38 am — Reply

    They should.

    • March 12, 2018 at 1:27 pm — Reply

      so your kids should have a break.

  23. Emma
    February 1, 2017 at 5:57 pm — Reply

    I am writing an essay on why cell phones should NOT be allowed in the classrooms. Students such as me, cannot afford distraction. There are plenty of tools for learning is the classrooms, if you need a tool on your cell phone, that you aren’t allowed to get from the classroom, then you shouldn’t cheat and give whatever it is you are doing your best try without the tool you think you need. If you need your cell phones to interact, try interacting face to face, or maybe you shouldn’t interact when it is not the time or place. I agree, school sucks. You don’t want to know how much I hate writing this essay, but you’ll just have to deal with it.

    • Poisonglass
      February 2, 2018 at 7:00 am — Reply

      I agree, while they can confer small benefits, the distraction factor is huge, and people need to be focusing on school.

      • An average student wanting an education
        February 11, 2018 at 5:23 pm — Reply

        Yes but there are ways for teachers to be monitering such behavior in a classroom environment. Not only that but teachers can make specific times to be able to use a cellphone in class.

  24. January 24, 2017 at 7:42 am — Reply

    i disagree

  25. Mia
    December 19, 2016 at 11:05 am — Reply

    When you get a job and you are a teacher and you are sitting here watching all these kids playing on a phone in my room I don’t think so.

    • January 23, 2018 at 2:08 pm — Reply

      its not your room :/

  26. D. S.
    December 14, 2016 at 12:11 pm — Reply

    That’s an iffy topic. If everyone played by the rules it would be ok, but it’s unrealistic because kids get addicted to their phones and school work would suffer.

  27. Dean
    December 14, 2016 at 6:24 am — Reply

    As long as their not on any pornagraphic sites its ok.

    • bella
      March 24, 2017 at 7:03 am — Reply

      I agree!!!

    • An average student wanting an education
      February 11, 2018 at 5:25 pm — Reply

      No there are other things that could be a problem such as Snapchat, Instgram, Twitter, ect.

  28. neallie
    December 13, 2016 at 10:59 am — Reply

    I think only responsible kids should have cell phones in classrooms because irresponsible kids will abuse there phone privileges like playing games while there should be working.

    • An average student wanting an education
      February 11, 2018 at 5:27 pm — Reply

      Yes but that would be bias.

  29. December 7, 2016 at 7:47 am — Reply


    • talon
      January 19, 2017 at 1:41 pm — Reply

      I agree with you

    • Madison
      February 15, 2017 at 9:56 am — Reply

      Clearly not if you can’t spell.

      • Chris
        April 12, 2018 at 5:27 am — Reply

        What about spell check?

      • Chris
        April 12, 2018 at 5:28 am — Reply

        What about spell check? Phones have auto-correct, making for a possible save in a very important paper.

    • Jacksepticeye
      February 23, 2017 at 10:28 am — Reply

      mark buddy hey I agree with you!

    • amy
      March 14, 2017 at 4:10 pm — Reply

      I got to say I agree but I mean you just proved the point of the other side

  30. Jim
    November 7, 2016 at 11:14 am — Reply

    I use cellphones at school all the time

    Bro !! what’s wrong in that!!
    children should be given iPhone6s

    • Ty
      December 1, 2016 at 9:32 am — Reply

      I would love if they gave us iPhone6s.

      But my school dont allow phones.

    • s;dhg'wourhg
      January 3, 2017 at 11:15 am — Reply

      no, iPhone 7plus

    • bill
      March 1, 2017 at 8:32 am — Reply

      Wouldnt that be expensive?

    • YA boi kim
      March 7, 2017 at 8:04 am — Reply

      I agree with my boi jim

    • max
      September 25, 2019 at 8:03 am — Reply

      OH YEA ILL JUST GIVE SOME KIDS IPHONES, plus iphones are garbage, if anything they should give them samsungs.

  31. Lee
    October 20, 2016 at 11:48 am — Reply

    Hasn’t anyone thought of the fact that when our cellphones are turned on every step we make is being tracked?!? Doesn’t this bother anyone?!

  32. Dan
    September 21, 2016 at 6:19 am — Reply

    I don’t think there is a way to ban cellphones – how would they even do that? Everyone has one and uses it for all kinds of things.

    • Nice person
      October 24, 2016 at 6:56 am — Reply

      They can’t take the phones so they can’t ban them!!

      • Pete
        November 14, 2016 at 6:57 pm — Reply

        Not everyone…:(

        • Drake
          April 24, 2017 at 6:52 am — Reply

          I dont even have a phone.

  33. God Father
    August 27, 2016 at 8:15 am — Reply

    I use cellphones at school all the time

    Bro !! what’s wrong in that!!
    children should be given iPhone6s

    • Hollis
      February 16, 2017 at 8:54 am — Reply

      You guys need to realize that phones aren’t necessary. I’m sure you’ve heard this a thousand times, but there are worse things in the world. People are being killed, yet all you’re worried about is whether you have the latest phone. Something that would do you good is to not use your phone for a week or month. You will see what I’m talking about, trust me it works!

      • Owen
        March 1, 2017 at 7:31 am — Reply

        Yea but it doesnt involve us

      • Mary
        March 28, 2017 at 11:27 am — Reply

        I was grounded from my phone for a year got right back on it all day all week and all month so it doesn’t work.

      • bumpkin boi
        February 19, 2020 at 3:15 pm — Reply

        what are you 20?!?

  34. Person 1
    May 31, 2016 at 7:19 am — Reply

    How about interacting face-to-face?

  35. tyler
    May 19, 2016 at 7:45 am — Reply

    i am making an argument on cell phones should be allowed so no need to worry.

  36. May 18, 2016 at 11:13 am — Reply


    • John
      November 28, 2016 at 10:42 am — Reply


      • Tim
        December 11, 2016 at 9:11 am — Reply

        Phones should definently not. Its a no brainer

        • December 16, 2016 at 12:18 pm — Reply

          You’re wrong.

        • mel
          December 17, 2016 at 3:19 pm — Reply

          Ok, if there were murderers in your school with no escape and no phones were allowed, then how will you escape??? So you should bring cell phones to call 911

      • Ben
        January 19, 2017 at 10:47 am — Reply

        No they should be allowed so we can play on our phones.

        • Susile
          January 31, 2018 at 12:07 pm — Reply


      • January 27, 2017 at 10:47 am — Reply


    • lillianjean
      March 6, 2017 at 1:54 pm — Reply

      No, you could cheat on a lot of things.

  37. John
    May 4, 2016 at 7:13 am — Reply

    Its very helpful

  38. susie
    April 21, 2016 at 7:20 am — Reply

    cell phones should be allowed!!!!

    • John
      May 4, 2016 at 7:14 am — Reply

      I agree

    • Manan patel
      November 21, 2016 at 10:04 am — Reply

      no cell phones should be not allowed in school

      • Sorry to opo your bubble
        November 30, 2016 at 12:06 pm — Reply

        Why? We students could use them for so much more than bullying and social media. Technology is advancing and students should be exposed to the advances, becasue we are at one point in our lives or another.

    • November 30, 2016 at 8:58 am — Reply

      cell phone not allowed inside in school boi

  39. Ted
    April 14, 2016 at 5:56 pm — Reply

    I wish we wouldn’t have cellphones in the classroom, seriously… Everyone would be much cooler

  40. Kayle
    April 11, 2016 at 1:12 pm — Reply

    Everyone is on their phones all the time so I am too.

    • Mark
      February 2, 2018 at 7:41 am — Reply

      Who cares what they do you should be yourself.

  41. March 31, 2016 at 10:14 am — Reply

    i use my phone all the time and if you took that away from me i would be so mad

  42. bob
    March 29, 2016 at 11:57 am — Reply

    I always use my phone in my classes

    • Loading...
      April 21, 2017 at 9:53 am — Reply

      Who doesn’t??

    • Belal
      March 25, 2018 at 9:45 am — Reply

      Lucky you, we ain’t allowed to get our phones

  43. Sara
    March 22, 2016 at 9:40 am — Reply

    I think that there should be cell phones in school.

    • Person 1
      November 30, 2017 at 10:53 am — Reply

      Why? Not that I do not disagree but why do you think that I would like to know more.

  44. Madison
    March 15, 2016 at 8:50 am — Reply

    I think we would have phones because they are just not used for texting and calling they can be used for a calculator and a whole bunch more stuff 👍👍👍👍😂😂😀😀 so that is y I think we would be able to have phones in school.

    • Person 1
      May 31, 2016 at 7:21 am — Reply

      You can use a calculator for a calculator.

      • Person 2
        April 21, 2017 at 9:55 am — Reply

        Some people don’t have calculators or can’t afford them

        • nox
          February 24, 2018 at 5:19 pm — Reply

          Don’t have a calculator but can afford a cell phone??? Your wrong.

  45. katie
    March 9, 2016 at 6:06 am — Reply

    Phones should be allowed in class!!

  46. lydia
    March 7, 2016 at 8:16 am — Reply

    Cell phones are AAAAWESOME

  47. March 1, 2016 at 12:24 pm — Reply

    I think it should be allowed for resource only and not allowed on tests. BRING OUT THE PHONE BUCKET!

    • hi
      December 20, 2016 at 11:38 am — Reply

      i agree 100%

  48. L
    February 29, 2016 at 9:13 am — Reply

    we will get our cell phones back

  49. booty
    February 23, 2016 at 12:19 pm — Reply

    they should be allowed

  50. February 23, 2016 at 12:17 pm — Reply

    phones should be allowed in school bcuz school is boring ; )

    • JoJo
      April 15, 2016 at 9:43 am — Reply

      I bet your 8 years old. Personally I love school, unless they make you do a whole sheet of math without a partner…

    • nox
      February 24, 2018 at 5:21 pm — Reply

      School is boring? Just wait till you get to the real world..get a job…have to pay bills. your going to be screwed if you think school is boring now.

      Good luck

  51. hannah
    February 18, 2016 at 11:10 am — Reply


      February 23, 2016 at 12:59 pm — Reply


    • Joseph
      February 29, 2016 at 5:07 pm — Reply


    • Bob the Builder
      March 2, 2016 at 9:45 am — Reply

      The Conch does not lie!!!🌽🌽

      • Luke
        March 8, 2016 at 6:31 am — Reply

        The magic Chonch never lies

  52. Emily
    February 17, 2016 at 7:25 pm — Reply

    I think you shouldn’t keep phones in school because it’s a major distraction. But even though they don’t let you, some kids don’t care and bring their phones! I do have a phone but I believe they shouldn’t allow them. One thing I do want to mention is some people say yes phones should be allowed but just to stay COOOL…..well yeah that’s my opinion! Thanks

    • lily
      March 1, 2016 at 10:31 am — Reply

      you are right

    • javier
      March 24, 2016 at 2:18 pm — Reply

      Cell phone are also great for academic purposes like clickers or to search up info on things, also for emergency. I get that, that is your opinion and respect it but they still have good use.

    • Mel
      May 5, 2016 at 9:45 am — Reply

      A student with the will to learn will not use their cellphones in class. Those with the will not to learn, will. But those with the will not to learn won´t pay attention anyways.

  53. Rylea
    February 17, 2016 at 8:32 am — Reply

    I think kids should have it because in case of emergency.

    • kayla
      May 2, 2018 at 6:48 am — Reply

      I agree

  54. Nick
    February 17, 2016 at 8:31 am — Reply

    Allow phones please!

    • bob
      December 12, 2016 at 6:56 am — Reply

      i agree. Cell phones should be allowed in school.

  55. josiphil
    December 15, 2015 at 6:35 am — Reply

    I think kids should be able to bring there phones to school because they need to INTERACT (no pun intended) 🙂

    • Rylea
      February 17, 2016 at 8:34 am — Reply

      I agree with you.

      • Zachary Brown
        March 16, 2016 at 9:11 am — Reply

        hah i use my phone in school all the time

        • Manan patel
          November 22, 2016 at 8:55 am — Reply

          but you can not use your phone all the time in school

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