The “No Electronics” Policy: Is it Needed? A Failing Regulation or a Successful Stipulation?

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The “No Electronics” Policy: Is it Needed? A Failing Regulation or a Successful Stipulation?

Mayzee Hsu, Opinion Editor

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HPV vaccines, Skype, 3D printers, Google driverless cars; a plethora of inventions have been the turning points of medicine, transportation, and of course, technology. One 1999 invention led to the widely known and popularized smartphone. According to the website Statista, approximately 2.32 billion people worldwide own a smartphone. Most people, even children, especially in areas like Los Angeles and London, own smartphones. Since the smartphone’s popularity grew in 2007, more schools are enforcing the “no electronics” policy.

Schools who enforce the “no electronics” policy into their rulebooks have the same concept: “use of personal electronics is not permitted during school hours and must be stored in your backpack/locker; if caught with a device, it will be confiscated immediately,” which can be found in The Fox Guide. Elementary schools, which have lower percentages of students owning electronics, do not administer this rule as harshly as middle and high schools. Middle schools, such as Huntington Middle School, have applied this policy to keep students from cheating, getting distracted, and to avoid any injuries (ie.concussion from walking into walls) with their devices.

Some students and adults would ban this rule if they could. An anonymous interviewee agrees, stating, “our world is changing into a more technologically inclined atmosphere…Schools will need to evolve their curriculum to be more technology based. Children need to be given a digital advantage to ‘compete’ in society.” 70% of school across the US assign online homework/tests, and the main reason students have missing school assignments is because they left it at home/lost it.  If they just have some pencils and an electronic for school, lockers/home desks would be more organized and students wouldn’t lose papers as much due to the value of an electronic device being very high.

Another reason why students should own electronics to teach them how to use it. This can include the basic functions of such device, but the main point is to use apps to teach them basic skills needed in life. Apps used for filming, testing, and or any school-related subject would be useful to use, since technology currently reigns all. Speaking of technology reigns all, technology is also getting advanced quicker than before. Many schools nowadays do not get funded by the government or have not enough parent sponsors, so spending funds on electronics for students and staff would be troublesome and waste a big chunk of their money. It would be a better idea, as some say, for students to bring their own electronics to school to use for educational purposes, since it would save the school a lot of money and would allow them to spend it on better restrooms, repairing the campus, better cafeteria food, or anything that would be beneficial to the school. On the other side, however, news sites such as CNN say “kids do a lot better when schools ban smartphones.”

There’s always positivity hidden in negativity, and in this case some would argue there’s only good in the policy. Parents and students who do say that, no, the electronics policy is making the school a better environment, will always say this: “new technologies are creating an ‘easily distracted generation with short attention spans,’” according to CNN. The argument here is students might receive notifications, calls, and or messages during class and would be itching to respond to them. Even if the student has their phone/tablet on “Do Not Disturb,” it would be a  distraction not only to the student, but to the entire class. Others would agree, but add on with another reason: privacy. According to BullyingStatistics.org, about 50% of minors are prone to cyber-bullying, and 20% experience it daily. If the electronics policy is not enforced properly, students could have their privacy violated through embarrassing photos, videos taken out of context, and show strangers on social media their location. Cyber-bullying is another form of disrespecting privacy, since some methods do invade the victim’s personal life. With invading privacy being a danger, another form of danger is more common than ever: injuries and accidents regarding people distracted by their devices.

The percentage of people dying each year because of someone distracted by their electronic device(s) is rising, with the most recent statistic having over 400,000 people getting injured/killed in accidents (*PersonalInjurySanDiego.org). Phones/tablets would be a hazard to some, with them saying if a student is distracted with their electronic during class or passing periods, they might bump into other students/staff, get hit by a door, and or even dropping their phone/tablet. Injuries to the student and or the phone are both tragic, and either way the school or the parent(s) would have to pay for the damages. If students break their tablets/phones, regardless of the owner, someone is going to pay for it. Some say electronics are a waste of money, especially if they break. Replacing electronics for students is costly, with the school and family having to pay for other important items such as bills, food, and most importantly, the campus/family’s house. The family might be too poor to buy electronics for their child(ren), and if the school requires electronics for every student, that student(s) would be “behind” in class, having to do everything on paper.

It isn’t clear if the “no electronics” policy is needed, since having the rule and not having the rule incorporated into schools both have its faults and benefits. Students and adults equalize both sides to the debate, so the percentages are still quite balanced. Do you think the “no electronics” policy is needed?

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