Featured Image

Changing School Cell Phone Policies Now

Students are more distracted than ever by their phones. If you're worried about cell phones in class affecting your students, here's a policy that can help.

Delaney Ruston is a coproducer of the documentary Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age. The film explores the many struggles students have with social media, cell phones, video games, academics, and internet addiction. This article originally appeared on screenagersmovie.com.

As the school year winds down, more and more teachers, parents, and principals from all over the country are in the process of changing their school’s cell phone policies.

Our initiative to transform schools into cell phone–free spaces—called “Away For The Day” (AFTD)—was initially intended for middle schools. But the tools we created for people wanting to change school policies through AFTD are being used in high schools as well. In fact, the resources and research are relevant to all school grades. We have many testimonials, sample policies, answers to common pushbacks, and ways to take action to help you bring an Away For The Day cell phone policy to your school.

Related: A 5-Step Guide to Unplugging From Technology This Semester

For middle school–age students, we believe that having phones in their lockers (or backpacks) during the school day is the best policy. This is what we mean by “away for the day.”

Regarding high schools, Away For The Day is taking a different direction. It’s common to have each teacher decide their own classroom cell phone policy. But high schools are now realizing that establishing a universal policy across the school, where phones are put away during class time, is a much better option.

For many schools, the process takes time to vet and get approved by all the various stakeholders. My coproducer on Screenagers served on a committee at Drake High School that helped bring about a cell phone policy change. The process started in May 2017, and it took until April 2018 for it to get voted into action.

Related: Smartpens, Tablets, and Word Prediction Software: Utilizing Technology for High School and College Students

The simple act of placing phones in a classroom cell phone pocket holder, basket, or the like minimizes distractions by limiting immediate access to the phone—but at the same time, teachers have the flexibility to ask students to use their phone for an assignment when needed.

Drake High School Assistant Principal Chad Stewart talks about the change in an article in the Marin Independent Journal: “There is an agreement that when they walk into a classroom next year, every student will park their cellphone in a holding area so they will be distraction-free during the class.”

I regularly hear from teachers that kids are playing Fortnite on their phones during class. They just can’t resist the urge when the phone is in their pockets. The research is clear: 75% of teachers report that attention spans of students decrease when the phone is accessible. But when the phones are parked in cell phone holders, the teacher doesn’t have to worry, and the student doesn’t have to feel the pull of the distraction.

Related: Unicorns and Garbage Cans: The Impact of Tech on Access to Higher Education

The director of operations at a high school in Virginia wrote to us that they changed their policy in 2016: “Students are asked to place their phone in the caddy when they enter class and can pick it up on their way out.” She goes on to say that “students honestly said they were surprised at how much less stress they felt knowing they couldn’t check their phone during class.”

Read the full article here on the Tech Talk Tuesdays blog. And for more advice on how to help your students succeed in high school, check out our Counselors section.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
Away For The Day cell phone policies cell phones changing school policies counselors parents phones in high school phones in school smartphones technology

About Delaney Ruston, MD

Dr. Delaney Ruston is a documentary filmmaker and primary care physician. She is the coproducer of the documentary Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age.

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Monica

Monica

High School Class of 2023

Being a sophomore in high school, I never really worried about college. I thought it wasn't important to worry about until senior year. Through this program opportunity I came across, I realized how important it is to start looking at colleges early and start planning ahead. CollegeXpress has opened my eyes to what colleges require, what colleges are near me, and what they offer. The daily emails I get from CollegeXpress really help me look at the different options I have and what colleges I fit into. Without this website, I would not be taking the time out of my day to worry about what my future will be nor what opportunities I have. I could not be more grateful for such an amazing and useful website. It's thanks to CollegeXpress that not only me but my family now know how much potential I have in to getting into these colleges/universities that we thought were out of my reach.

Tinuola Dada

Tinuola Dada

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2015

I am very excited to be this year's recipient of the Multicultural Student Community Service Scholarship. This scholarship will bring me ever closer to my academic and professional goals. CollegeXpress has been an exceptional resource to me, and I recommend it to all rising seniors as they begin to navigate the college application process.

Cameron Lee

Cameron Lee

High School Class of 2022

I used CollegeXpress to search for colleges. It helped me narrow down the schools on the West Coast and which schools had Construction Engineering programs. I made my decision to go to OSU and I am so excited about it.

Nikole Dixon

Nikole Dixon

$500 Refer-A-Friend Scholarship Winner

Towards the beginning of last year, I was searching for scholarships to apply to through my school, town, websites online, and anything else I could find. I asked tons of questions [online] about scholarships and the best places to find them because I was desperate and I needed as many as I could find. I came across a ton of bogus websites but as soon as I found CollegeXpress, I knew I had to tell other people about it. It was definitely the most helpful site I came across, so I told my friends about it. . . . CollegeXpress is definitely a website worth giving as a source.

Rayan Hamdan

Rayan Hamdan

None

I joined CollegeXpress just a few months ago. I had been struggling with severe anxiety, causing me to not be able to tour schools and make sure a college would be perfect for me. I came across CollegeXpress one day when I was searching for colleges online, and it completely changed the game. I was easily able to choose colleges that would suit me, and I also entered a few giveaways! Thank you so much!

College Matches