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Category: Articles for Parents / Educators

Cell Phones in School

cell phone usage in schools

Policies on the use of cell phones in school vary. While most schools have thorough written policies in place regarding the use of cell phones by students, these guidelines are continually being reviewed, revised and updated on a regular basis for a variety of reasons.

As cell phone used in and around schools evolves and becomes more pervasive throughout society in general, educators are also finding that the age of the typical child with a cell phone in school is getting younger.

New Issues Regarding the Use of Cell Phones by Students

With added cell phone features becoming standard, such as photo and video cameras and recording devices, educators face new issues that did not exist a few years ago. Issues of this nature were first addressed with high school students, and in recent years students using cell phones in middle schools needed guidelines. Today, we see that even elementary schools are now part of the cell phone debate.

The debate over cell phone use in school is no longer about whether or not these devices should be allowed on school premises. The fact of the matter is, parents expect to be in contact with their kids before and after school, as well as during lunch hours for those kids who leave school grounds. The cell phone may also facilitate students in planning after-school work and other activities, such as sporting events.

It is no longer reasonable for educators to expect students to turn in their cell phones at the door and pick them up when school is over. Requiring kids to leave cell phones in the lockers, also increases the risk of theft on a larger scale.

Since students are not prevented from carrying cell phone on their person, the risk of camera phones being used to take photographs of quizzes or exams and transmit them to classmates is of greater concern, not to mention the ability to text or instant message other students. In addition, pictures may be taken at home of notes that can easily be hidden within a phone and later used to cheat on an exam.

Protection of Kids from Cell Phone Abuse

While restricting any use of a cell phone in the classroom is just a matter of common sense, policies around cell phones in school revolve around ‘how to control cell phone use’ during those times throughout the school day when kids are roaming free, such as before school, at recess, lunch breaks and after school class hours.

Camera phones can be used to take embarrassing photographs of classmates in private areas, such as restrooms and locker rooms, and share them with others electronically or posting videos on YouTube. This technology raises legal issues of privacy and sexual harassment.

Cyber bullying also becomes more of an increased issue with access to social media sites, not to mention the distraction that social media and texting can pose to educational process for any child.

Benefits of Cell Phones in School

Cameras on phones can have educational benefits, giving students the ability to record field trips or school events, to enhance reports with visuals, and to develop photo essays. We have also mentioned the benefit for kids and parents to be in contact with each other, even if to only schedule pick up times.

Smart phones also give students easy access to the internet, which can be a benefit for research (replacing the use of a computer within the school) but can also open up potential concerns about cell phone safety for kids who are out of the watchful eye of their parents.

The use of cell phones by teachers is also part of many school policies. The main concern is whether cell phones should be used during school hours for personal business and therefore distracting teachers from their duties in offering students their undivided attention in the classroom or during the supervision of an exam.

Disciplinary Action for Cell Phone Misuse by Students

Any school policy regarding cell phones in school must also include disciplinary action for various activities involving cell phone use that is contrary to existing policies laid out. There should be set consequences that match the severity of the misuse, as well as reoccurring violations by an individual student or group of students. The most common repeat offense seems to be cell phones ringing in the classroom because a student forgot to turn their phone off.

cell-phones-in-school

In Summary
There was a time when “not in school!” was an important rule set for teenagers or children and their cell phones. Things have changed (rather quickly) and cell phones are now welcome in schools… with some guidelines, of course.

A few reasons why cell phones in school is a good thing:

  • Smart phones can help students get more organized in school.
  • Bringing a phone to school lets children communicate with their parents if they need to stay after or have forgotten something at home.
  • Personal phones can be used in the event of an emergency or accident.
  • However, there is an even longer list of reasons why cell phones in school is a bad thing. A few of those reasons include:

– Cell phones can be used to cheat in class.

– Cell phones can be a distraction in school.

– Cell phones can be used for bullying, including taking inappropriate or unwanted pictures and video.

– It can be very challenging for a teacher or school staff to closely monitor each student and ensure that school cell phone policies are followed.

– It is unhealthy for a child or teenager to depend on their cell phone for entertainment, or excessive communication with others when they should be focused on school work.

– Safe practices while searching the internet are just as important on a phone than when using a computer.

What Parents Can Do To Teach Your Teen About Cell Phones in School:

Since school policies have approached this topic with an open mind, it’s up to the parents to make sure your child will follow the guidelines and show responsibility when bringing a phone to school. After all, it would be unfair to expect your child to leave their phone at home (since they are allowed in school) and having a cell phone can be helpful in case of an emergency.

Check with the school to find out what the policies are, and use your best judgment to add your own expectations. For example, some schools may allow students to have their phones on during lunch or between classes, and you may not agree with this.

The trick with cell phones in school is that students should not leave valuable property in a car or locker, because it could get stolen. So it is up to the student to be responsible and leave their phone turned off (not just on silent) during class.

So as the parent, you can watch to see how “addicted to their phone” your child is, and at your own discretion determine if the benefits are worth the risk.

Parents: Read about Cell Phone Safety Tips!

Policies on the use of cell phones in school vary. While most schools have thorough written policies in place regarding the use of cell phones by students, these guidelines are continually being reviewed, revised and updated on a regular basis for a variety of reasons.

As cell phone used in and around schools evolves and becomes more pervasive throughout society in general, educators are also finding that the age of the typical child with a cell phone in school is getting younger.

New Issues Regarding the Use of Cell Phones by Students

With added cell phone features becoming standard, such as photo and video cameras and recording devices, educators face new issues that did not exist a few years ago. Issues of this nature were first addressed with high school students, and in recent years students using cell phones in middle schools needed guidelines. Today, we see that even elementary schools are now part of the cell phone debate.

The debate over cell phone use in school is no longer about whether or not these devices should be allowed on school premises. The fact of the matter is, parents expect to be in contact with their kids before and after school, as well as during lunch hours for those kids who leave school grounds. The cell phone may also facilitate students in planning after-school work and other activities, such as sporting events.

It is no longer reasonable for educators to expect students to turn in their cell phones at the door and pick them up when school is over. Requiring kids to leave cell phones in the lockers, also increases the risk of theft on a larger scale.

Since students are not prevented from carrying cell phone on their person, the risk of camera phones being used to take photographs of quizzes or exams and transmit them to classmates is of greater concern, not to mention the ability to text or instant message other students. In addition, pictures may be taken at home of notes that can easily be hidden within a phone and later used to cheat on an exam.

Protection of Kids from Cell Phone Abuse

While restricting any use of a cell phone in the classroom is just a matter of common sense, policies around cell phones in school revolve around ‘how to control cell phone use’ during those times throughout the school day when kids are roaming free, such as before school, at recess, lunch breaks and after school class hours.

Camera phones can be used to take embarrassing photographs of classmates in private areas, such as restrooms and locker rooms, and share them with others electronically or posting videos on YouTube. This technology raises legal issues of privacy and sexual harassment.

Cyber bullying also becomes more of an increased issue with access to social media sites, not to mention the distraction that social media and texting can pose to educational process for any child.

Benefits of Cell Phones in School

Cameras on phones can have educational benefits, giving students the ability to record field trips or school events, to enhance reports with visuals, and to develop photo essays. We have also mentioned the benefit for kids and parents to be in contact with each other, even if to only schedule pick up times.

Smart phones also give students easy access to the internet, which can be a benefit for research (replacing the use of a computer within the school) but can also open up potential concerns about cell phone safety for kids who are out of the watchful eye of their parents.

The use of cell phones by teachers is also part of many school policies. The main concern is whether cell phones should be used during school hours for personal business and therefore distracting teachers from their duties in offering students their undivided attention in the classroom or during the supervision of an exam.

Disciplinary Action for Cell Phone Misuse by Students

Any school policy regarding cell phones in school must also include disciplinary action for various activities involving cell phone use that is contrary to existing policies laid out. There should be set consequences that match the severity of the misuse, as well as reoccurring violations by an individual student or group of students. The most common repeat offense seems to be cell phones ringing in the classroom because a student forgot to turn their phone off.

cell-phones-in-school

In Summary
There was a time when “not in school!” was an important rule set for teenagers or children and their cell phones. Things have changed (rather quickly) and cell phones are now welcome in schools… with some guidelines, of course.

A few reasons why cell phones in school is a good thing:

  • Smart phones can help students get more organized in school.
  • Bringing a phone to school lets children communicate with their parents if they need to stay after or have forgotten something at home.
  • Personal phones can be used in the event of an emergency or accident.
  • However, there is an even longer list of reasons why cell phones in school is a bad thing. A few of those reasons include:

– Cell phones can be used to cheat in class.

– Cell phones can be a distraction in school.

– Cell phones can be used for bullying, including taking inappropriate or unwanted pictures and video.

– It can be very challenging for a teacher or school staff to closely monitor each student and ensure that school cell phone policies are followed.

– It is unhealthy for a child or teenager to depend on their cell phone for entertainment, or excessive communication with others when they should be focused on school work.

– Safe practices while searching the internet are just as important on a phone than when using a computer.

What Parents Can Do To Teach Your Teen About Cell Phones in School:

Since school policies have approached this topic with an open mind, it’s up to the parents to make sure your child will follow the guidelines and show responsibility when bringing a phone to school. After all, it would be unfair to expect your child to leave their phone at home (since they are allowed in school) and having a cell phone can be helpful in case of an emergency.

Check with the school to find out what the policies are, and use your best judgment to add your own expectations. For example, some schools may allow students to have their phones on during lunch or between classes, and you may not agree with this.

The trick with cell phones in school is that students should not leave valuable property in a car or locker, because it could get stolen. So it is up to the student to be responsible and leave their phone turned off (not just on silent) during class.

So as the parent, you can watch to see how “addicted to their phone” your child is, and at your own discretion determine if the benefits are worth the risk.

Parents: Read about Cell Phone Safety Tips!

Parent’s Guide to Protecting Teens on Social Media

Raising a teenager is no picnic! On one hand, you want to respect boundaries and give your growing child the freedom to make—and learn from—their own mistakes. On the other hand, you want to do everything in your power to protect your child from… well, everything.

(This article is directed at parents. Teens, read what you can do here).

When it comes to online safety, social media has its’ own unique set of problems for teenagers… and it can go far beyond the online predator horror stories. That’s why it’s important as a parent to be involved with your teens’ use of social media

Let’s be honest, most parents have their own Twitter or Facebook account.

Not every parent is involved in social media. If your teen is using social media… that is a good reason why you should be too. (Of course, there aren’t really that many good reasons…)

Even if you don’t use social media actively, you should be friends with your teen so you can routinely check and see their posts. Not only will this give you a chance to see what’s really going on in their mind (because social media brings out a passive aggressive behavior in everyone, and teenagers are especially likely to Facebook their problems instead of facing them) but you can also recognize inappropriate behavior or posts, such as posting personal information.

Note that Facebook has a filtering feature that can allow teenagers to hide certain posts from parents or other adults. Use your best judgment to determine if your child might be filtering the posts that you see.

While we’re being honest, most teenagers use another social media site more than Facebook or Twitter.

Most parents are surprised to learn that their child has social media accounts on sites you probably didn’t even know about. Talk to your child and make sure you know every site they are using and how those sites are used.

Here are some of the most popular social networking sites used by teenagers:
• Facebook
• Twitter
• G+ (Google Plus)
• Instagram
• Tumblr
• Snapchat
• Meetme

Open communication.

Parents who openly communicate with their children are more likely to receive the same approach in response. It is critical that your teenager feel safe in talking to you, because fear of punishment can result in isolated or rebellious behavior.

During the difficult teenage years, your child will want to test boundaries. They will want to do and say things that you would not approve of. This is basic human nature. It’s important that you understand and respect this, while letting them know they can talk to you about anything.

At the same time, you should lead by example and initiate those difficult discussions with your teen. Even if you only get one-word responses, they are still listening… and it establishes a comfortable environment for open communication in your home.

It is also important to have a discussion about cell phone safety, where kids can access social media site with ease and outside the watchful eye of parents. This raises issues of cell phone safety.

Practical privacy.

Keep computers in a “public” location, rather than in their bedroom. At your discretion, it may be a good idea to routinely check computer and phone history and require that you know the passwords to all of your teen’s accounts… but keep in mind that infringing on their right to privacy may only push them further away.

In a nutshell, trust your child enough to give them leash and don’t violate their privacy without justifiable cause. However, maintain the ability to check up on your teen if they begin to show suspicious behavior.

Establish boundaries.

Boundaries, rules, and guidelines can be applied to behaviors that are allowed on social media… as well as the amount of time allowed to spend on social media. Teenagers with smart phones tend to be more interested in the cyber world and oblivious to the real world around them, but as a parent you can set the rules to prevent this from happening.

Stay informed of the threats.

Internet safety is about so much more than online predators or identity theft. In fact, teenagers are not the only vulnerable internet users.

Even parents can make mistakes on social media!!! Did you know that you should never brag about an upcoming vacation, and when you take a vacation you should wait until you return home to post pictures?

It helps to know the tricks and trends, because the more likely online threats are much more common—such as falling victim to a spambot.

Here is a guide you can give your teenager about social media safety for teens.

Raising a teenager is no picnic! On one hand, you want to respect boundaries and give your growing child the freedom to make—and learn from—their own mistakes. On the other hand, you want to do everything in your power to protect your child from… well, everything.

(This article is directed at parents. Teens, read what you can do here).

When it comes to online safety, social media has its’ own unique set of problems for teenagers… and it can go far beyond the online predator horror stories. That’s why it’s important as a parent to be involved with your teens’ use of social media

Let’s be honest, most parents have their own Twitter or Facebook account.

Not every parent is involved in social media. If your teen is using social media… that is a good reason why you should be too. (Of course, there aren’t really that many good reasons…)

Even if you don’t use social media actively, you should be friends with your teen so you can routinely check and see their posts. Not only will this give you a chance to see what’s really going on in their mind (because social media brings out a passive aggressive behavior in everyone, and teenagers are especially likely to Facebook their problems instead of facing them) but you can also recognize inappropriate behavior or posts, such as posting personal information.

Note that Facebook has a filtering feature that can allow teenagers to hide certain posts from parents or other adults. Use your best judgment to determine if your child might be filtering the posts that you see.

While we’re being honest, most teenagers use another social media site more than Facebook or Twitter.

Most parents are surprised to learn that their child has social media accounts on sites you probably didn’t even know about. Talk to your child and make sure you know every site they are using and how those sites are used.

Here are some of the most popular social networking sites used by teenagers:
• Facebook
• Twitter
• G+ (Google Plus)
• Instagram
• Tumblr
• Snapchat
• Meetme

Open communication.

Parents who openly communicate with their children are more likely to receive the same approach in response. It is critical that your teenager feel safe in talking to you, because fear of punishment can result in isolated or rebellious behavior.

During the difficult teenage years, your child will want to test boundaries. They will want to do and say things that you would not approve of. This is basic human nature. It’s important that you understand and respect this, while letting them know they can talk to you about anything.

At the same time, you should lead by example and initiate those difficult discussions with your teen. Even if you only get one-word responses, they are still listening… and it establishes a comfortable environment for open communication in your home.

It is also important to have a discussion about cell phone safety, where kids can access social media site with ease and outside the watchful eye of parents. This raises issues of cell phone safety.

Practical privacy.

Keep computers in a “public” location, rather than in their bedroom. At your discretion, it may be a good idea to routinely check computer and phone history and require that you know the passwords to all of your teen’s accounts… but keep in mind that infringing on their right to privacy may only push them further away.

In a nutshell, trust your child enough to give them leash and don’t violate their privacy without justifiable cause. However, maintain the ability to check up on your teen if they begin to show suspicious behavior.

Establish boundaries.

Boundaries, rules, and guidelines can be applied to behaviors that are allowed on social media… as well as the amount of time allowed to spend on social media. Teenagers with smart phones tend to be more interested in the cyber world and oblivious to the real world around them, but as a parent you can set the rules to prevent this from happening.

Stay informed of the threats.

Internet safety is about so much more than online predators or identity theft. In fact, teenagers are not the only vulnerable internet users.

Even parents can make mistakes on social media!!! Did you know that you should never brag about an upcoming vacation, and when you take a vacation you should wait until you return home to post pictures?

It helps to know the tricks and trends, because the more likely online threats are much more common—such as falling victim to a spambot.

Here is a guide you can give your teenager about social media safety for teens.

Covenant Eyes: Internet Filtering and Accountability

internet safety for teens

Most filters block content which often hinders you from viewing legitimate sites that you wouldn’t consider harmful. And even the best filters are not perfect. Covenant Eyes Software is different by offering an added accountability feature.

Covenant Eyes keeps a record of all internet activity that is impossible to circumvent, unlike the history in your browser that can be deleted. Covenant Eyes teaches safe browsing habits through email reports. This is ideal for older teens and adults.

Just knowing that an extra set of eyes is watching, help keeps your family members responsible when surfing the internet, including Google. Basically, a user knows that any website they visit will also be seen by their accountability partner, such as a parent or guardian.

Email reports are not cumbersome. Bad websites are highlighted to produce an easy to view history report of where a user has been online. Those keeping an eye on a users internet habits can also log in anytime to see a recent history.

Beyond accountability, Covenant Eyes still allows you to block content based on the age. It can also decide the times of day the internet may be used, and decide how much time per day or per week the internet may be surfed under each username. Choose whether to block or to allow specific websites, and this option can be applied differently to each user. Covenant Eyes can be used to help block instant messaging, file sharing, and other protocols.

Finally, you can decide which members may or may not override the filter while keeping the accountability feature active.

HOW IT WORKS

  • Covenant Eyes Software is downloaded to a computer.
  • Covenant Eyes keeps a complete and accurate record of all web usage.
  • Accountability Partners, selected by the user, receive reports by email about internet activity.
  • Our unique dynamic scoring system highlights questionable sites, making the report easy to read.
Download Covenant Eyes!

Covenant Eyes provides an economical solution to internet filtering for the entire family. The accountability feature works ‘hand in hand’ with our Google search filtering. For younger kids, you should also employ the full internet filtering feature which Covenant Eyes provides.

If you choose to implement filtering using the Covenant Eyes Software, we encourage you to also use our website, as there may be different levels of filtering applied to various members of your family.

Internet Filters are designed to keep offensive and dangerous websites away from your computer and your family. However, they should not trusted to replace parental supervision and guidance on safe browsing behavior.

Covenant Eyes analyzes each website visited and blocks or allows them according to each user’s sensitivity settings. The Covenant Eyes Filter requires an ‘uninstall code’ in order to remove it from the computer. If the program is uninstalled, all users and accountability partners receive an email that the Covenant Eyes is no longer tracking usage.

As mentioned, you can choose to not have a lower level of filtering for older family members. At it’s most basic level, the software program instills positive browsing habits through accountability and reduces the risk of developing addictive behavior. Parents should also consider controls for very young children spending time online.

Some users are adults who choose to resist temptation on the internet by remaining accountable to a friend or spouse.

Download and Try Covenant Eyes!

Most filters block content which often hinders you from viewing legitimate sites that you wouldn’t consider harmful. And even the best filters are not perfect. Covenant Eyes Software is different by offering an added accountability feature.

Covenant Eyes keeps a record of all internet activity that is impossible to circumvent, unlike the history in your browser that can be deleted. Covenant Eyes teaches safe browsing habits through email reports. This is ideal for older teens and adults.

Just knowing that an extra set of eyes is watching, help keeps your family members responsible when surfing the internet, including Google. Basically, a user knows that any website they visit will also be seen by their accountability partner, such as a parent or guardian.

Email reports are not cumbersome. Bad websites are highlighted to produce an easy to view history report of where a user has been online. Those keeping an eye on a users internet habits can also log in anytime to see a recent history.

Beyond accountability, Covenant Eyes still allows you to block content based on the age. It can also decide the times of day the internet may be used, and decide how much time per day or per week the internet may be surfed under each username. Choose whether to block or to allow specific websites, and this option can be applied differently to each user. Covenant Eyes can be used to help block instant messaging, file sharing, and other protocols.

Finally, you can decide which members may or may not override the filter while keeping the accountability feature active.

HOW IT WORKS

  • Covenant Eyes Software is downloaded to a computer.
  • Covenant Eyes keeps a complete and accurate record of all web usage.
  • Accountability Partners, selected by the user, receive reports by email about internet activity.
  • Our unique dynamic scoring system highlights questionable sites, making the report easy to read.
Download Covenant Eyes!

Covenant Eyes provides an economical solution to internet filtering for the entire family. The accountability feature works ‘hand in hand’ with our Google search filtering. For younger kids, you should also employ the full internet filtering feature which Covenant Eyes provides.

If you choose to implement filtering using the Covenant Eyes Software, we encourage you to also use our website, as there may be different levels of filtering applied to various members of your family.

Internet Filters are designed to keep offensive and dangerous websites away from your computer and your family. However, they should not trusted to replace parental supervision and guidance on safe browsing behavior.

Covenant Eyes analyzes each website visited and blocks or allows them according to each user’s sensitivity settings. The Covenant Eyes Filter requires an ‘uninstall code’ in order to remove it from the computer. If the program is uninstalled, all users and accountability partners receive an email that the Covenant Eyes is no longer tracking usage.

As mentioned, you can choose to not have a lower level of filtering for older family members. At it’s most basic level, the software program instills positive browsing habits through accountability and reduces the risk of developing addictive behavior. Parents should also consider controls for very young children spending time online.

Some users are adults who choose to resist temptation on the internet by remaining accountable to a friend or spouse.

Download and Try Covenant Eyes!