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Why we all “need” our cell phones

Lots of us have cell phones, and for various reasons. Some hayve them to make phone calls only, and others enjoy the ful spectrum of an advanced smart phone, like the iPhone, that let’s you browse the Internet, etc. As a teacher, I know how many of my students have phones, and regardless of school policy, see nothing wrong with using it during class, sending the occasional text message, checking email, or fact checking using Wikipedia. I believe in the good of cell phones, and think they are a great learning tool, especially on the fly, but it wasn’t until this afternoon that I figured out why they are so popular, and so powerful in terms of “everyone’s gotta have one”.

Cell phones (and other smart devices) are powerful because they meet a specific need. No, you can’t eat a phone, and while it may keep you safe (by calling the police), the need that phones meet, is the need to belong. A phone enables you to instantly connect with someone like you, or await their call in return. The need to belong is more powerful than any of the other needs, and explains lots of various types of behavior, and why we do what we do.

In high school specifically, students need to belong to some sort of group in order to function socially, emotionally, and physiologically. Having a phone enables students to keep in touch with their extend network of friends, or people like themselves, and that connection offer students a wireless safety net of sorts.

It used to be that student spent some time in our classes daydreaming, but today, that daydreaming behavior is more likely the student sneaking off a text message to someone. One could argue that texting serves two important functions in our classrooms. One, a quick brain break protecting from overload, in addition to quickly confirming that, yes, someone out there appreciates me, and wants to know how I’m doing! The question is, do we openly allow our students to fill their needs?

2 replies on “Why we all “need” our cell phones”

I believe that some teachers do not let us fulfill our needs openly. I agree with the part about how sending a quick text gives my mind a quick break from school. And sometimes the texts are very important to respond to, if it’s work or my mom. It also does keep you connected with what is going on, and without one you are left out. Cell phones are apart of our world today, and it’s weird to think that you almost couldn’t be without one. I send a ton of texts daily, and some are very important! I think that a no cell phone rule should be more of a choice, it’s the student’s grade that will be affected, not necessarily hurting the teacher. And the other part of it is that teachers use their cell phones in class sometimes too! Teachers should be more open to not caring as much about texting in class, as long as we’re not testing or causing a distraction.

I think that cell phone use should be allowed in school. I mean i’d say more than half the students text in school at some point in the day anyway. I think it would create more productivity and help us connect with other students if we have questions or need help on something. It could basically be used as another resource like a book or computer!

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