Cell Phones In The Public Essay

2338 words - 10 pages

Cell Phones in the Public
Cell phones play an integral role in our lives, and we conduct many useful functions through them daily. If a mother wants to inform her kids that she would be late to pick them up from their school, the cell phone would provide a good medium to communicate that message. The cutting-edge technology of cell phones at your fingertips is a very powerful device that can be used to connect with people from all around the world, and it can also save lives as well in emergency situations. However, public institutions such as schools and libraries have gotten to the point where cell phones have become a major controversial issue. Improper cellular usage by the youth mainly ...view middle of the document...

In public institutions like schools or libraries, cell phones are often used by patrons in order to communicate instantly to another person, search information up quickly, or even to pass the time. Although the effects of using a cell phone to accomplish a task can be quite advantageous, public officials in these type of public institutions are usually in opposition to this ideal for a variety of reasons. For example, librarians find that cell-phone conversations can be "excessively loud," and that the ringtones of cell phones can sometimes be "obtrusive music" that differs from the short, usual, mundane ringtones (Knecht). Librarians claim that due to these reasons, other patrons of the library are disturbed while reference interviews and educational instruction are disrupted as well. In fact, a library in California went so far as to ban cell phones entirely in the library. This ban involved talking on the cell phone, text messaging, and "ringing tones" (Cell Phones Banned--Really…). However, this ban took place after the library staff constantly gave people notices explaining that they were "violating library policy" (Cell Phones Banned--Really…). The interesting thing about this ban is that second-time offenders (people who violate the ban twice) would be fined two hundred fifty dollars, while third-time offenders would be fined five hundred dollars. Any offense afterwards results in a one-thousand dollar fine. These consequences are certainly outrageous for a library. Public schools also take similar disciplinary action, but surely not to this extent.
Throughout the past decade, cell phone usage has expanded to the point where it is common for students and teachers to have cell phones in the formal education-type setting. As a matter of fact, 58 percent of 6th to12th graders have a cell phone and 68 percent of students bring cell phones to school daily (Obringer & Coffey). The main issues of cell phones that concern educators, administrators, and school boards are that cell phones can serve as distractions to the "learning environment," be a tool used for cheating, or even as a device for cyber-bullying (Obringer & Coffey). Despite these issues, cell-phone policies vary among schools in the United States. Some schools are lenient on this policies while other schools are strict.
On the contrary, the opposing side, typically parents, will say that cell phones offer advantages as well. For example, a student would need a cell phone if the student was involved in athletic or extracurricular activities that take place after school for safety reasons. Camera capabilities on cell phones can enhance the learning environment too because if a student did not have time to take notes while a teacher is lecturing too fast, the student could just record the whole lecture or take pictures of demonstrations that the teacher performs. I recently interviewed USC Upstate student, Eric Douangmala on this issue, and he, himself, claims that without a...

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