This is a question I hear a lot from parents. And more often than not, before I can answer, the parent posing the question is already giving excuses about how hard it is to control technology and the child needs the phone close by to study. I answer truthfully, “No, I do not believe students should have their cell phones with them while studying.” Period.
Technology that helps with studying is very different than the social/entertainment a smartphone delivers. There have been many discussions about distracted driving, operating a vehicle while talking or texting. Why would your child’s studying be any different? When the cell is within reach kids are continually being pulled from the intensive studying that is required to master concepts in school. This is causing student to spend more time on their homework while absorbing less material than if they just worked on the homework without the cell phone.
Now don’t get me wrong…there have been plenty of times when I have used my phone to look up useful information and even directions when I get lost, but cell phones are not a necessity when it comes to your child’s study time. Just picture yourself out to lunch with a dear friend. She starts telling you everything that she has been doing for the last 10 years since you last saw her- family, work, challenges and successes. But, you choose to have your phone next you and every 1-2 minutes the phone starts vibrating. Sometimes you read the texts or answer the call, other times you simply look quickly at the phone and try to ignore the person reaching out to you of the latest post from Facebook or Instagram. Now you tell me, how well would you catch all the details of your old friend’s life? Besides being extremely rude, you would not have connected with your friend and may have even misheard some important information she shared with you.
This is what happens with children and cellphones during homework time. Whether their phone is on vibrate or not, each time it buzzes (or they wished it buzzed) the student’s attention is pulled away from studying. Important facts and information is lost or mixed up. They loose their place and focus.
Having a No Cell Phone While Studying Rule will be an adjustment for your tweens and teens. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Model the behavior. Let your children see you pay full attention to things that are important or intensive. Some examples are no cell phones while driving, talking with friends, reading, doing your bible study or even watching TV.
Charging station. Create a charging station in a central location in your home. Require your child to charge the phone while studying (and at night….but that is another blog post).
Study breaks with cell phone use. Each child deserves a break and may want to communicate with friends. Allow your child to connect socially or have a little fun playing a game to break up longer study sessions.
Off hours with no cell phone use. It may be easier for some households to simply have a set time each night when no cell phones can be used. Phones can be off during study time, once this time period is over the phone can be turned back on.
The fewer exceptions the better. Many students will find creative ways to say they “need” their phones for their homework. It may be to listen to music, look up materials, or ask friends questions. In my experience the fewer exceptions you allow the easier it will be to keep homework and cell phone separate.
We live in a world of technology that is only becoming more intense. It is our responsibility to help our children learn how to handle technology and use it to their advantage. Fewer distractions while studying leads to less time doing homework and more efficient learning.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.
1 Corinthians 10:13a
By Megan Stone, M.Ed.
Wife to Rick
Mom of two
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of Stone Foundations of Learning, Inc.
Author of Own Your Education! A Student’s Guide to Greater Success in School (And Life)
Meet Megan at the HeartCORe Parenting Conference in Minneapolis on November 1! Register HERE for the conference.