Mobile use in moderation

Applecross Senior High School students Ella Vu and Lauren Rolfe. Picture: Elle Borgward        www.communitypix.com.au   d435563
Applecross Senior High School students Ella Vu and Lauren Rolfe. Picture: Elle Borgward        www.communitypix.com.au d435563

IN the second instalment of the Times new Youthful Perspectives series, Applecross Senior High School Year 8 student Ella Vu has given some thought to the question of mobile phone use at school. With some local schools banning them last year, the issue is a topical one. Read Ella�s views below.

Texting and the use of social media incorrectly are among potential problems and you�ve heard how mobile phones are �major distractions� in an educational environment.

But research has revealed crucial reasons why mobile phones are necessary in a school community; many you may not have considered, yet are important.

Allowing mobile phones at school can be a productive way of teaching adolescents responsibility. It is unnecessary to ban mobile phones if students have the maturity to use them in an educational way: to take notes, record homework, check timetables, use a calculator, dictionary or thesaurus.

One major thing separating adults from children is responsibility; a learned behaviour. If adolescents are not given the opportunity, they won�t develop this social skill. Mobile phones are a way for students to learn self-discipline and allow them to self-mature.

Education is not confined to a classroom. We can never underestimate the dangers students could face when they go on excursions; a mobile phone call could save the life of a student who suffers from bee sting anaphylaxis.

Statistics even show that emergency cases were 14 per cent more likely to end in fatality if emergency services were contacted through a landline, rather than a mobile phone. We cannot always depend on school administrations as communication between students and parents or emergency services. Rather, we should enable students to carry their mobile phones around at school and on excursions.

The question lingers about how to control mobile use at school. Schools could choose to block social media sites from internet servers. Teachers can impose clear rules around mobile phone use by students in class. I am certain this approach is a much more rational one than banning mobiles altogether.

The positives outweigh the negative effects. Mobile phones can teach pupils to exercise self-restraint, enlightening them for the future. In particular incidents, a mobile phone call could even save lives.

We are now in the 21st century and mobile phones are here to stay. Failing to recognise their usefulness is illogical. Banning them is a draconian approach. Sensible restrictions could be the key to getting the best out of these devices. If we don�t use them to their full potential, we will be disadvantaging students.