Cell Phones Don't Contribute to Learning

Cell Phone Cartoon "Cell phones do not contribute to learning. They can be distracting," says Thomas Sherman, professor of education at Virginia Tech. "Students have enough distractions. They don’t need more."

Sherman researches how children learn and explains that cell phones may prevent some children from learning how to communicate. "Cell phones come between people," he says. The words are sent but you can’t see their faces or body language. Sherman says it is okay to limit cell phone communication with young children.

Modern cell phones have screens and many teachers worry that students have too much "screen time." Children can spend two to four hours each day in front of screens. Educators recommend that instead of screen time that children engage in active play, reading, or playing board games. "Screen time" should be limited.

Sherman listed more reasons students should not have cell phones in school. Ringing cell phones can be distracting. Not all students have cell phones. Cell phones are getting smaller and can easily be lost or stolen.

"There are no good reasons for children to have cell phones," he says. Many parents suggest their children should have cell phones in order to contact someone in an emergency. "But schools are safe places so emergencies don't happen often," Sherman says.

"There are no clear ways to use cell phones to support learning," Sherman says. He says that students should learn to make their decisions and experience the results. If children can't make decisions on their own, they may never learn to think for themselves.

Mary Ann Johnson

Copyright Virginia Tech. Used by permission.