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Editorial | Ban mobile phones in school?

The use of gadgets has become an integral part of our lives, whether we admit it or not. Even infants who can barely roll over are introduced to the screen via mobile phones by doting parents or caregivers. Pre-school children now have their own mobile phones to play with instead of playing with other kids. Parents find it necessary to buy them mobile phones so they can call and check on them anytime. So it is now common to see a family gathered around a table tinkering on their phones rather than talking to each other. Technology is moving rapidly and we have to keep pace with it or else be left eating digital dust. But how is it helping the new generation exercise their thought process instead of leaning towards artificial intelligence?

There is a growing sentiment expressed by parents and teachers against the use of cellphones in schools. On Nov. 23, 2003, the Department of Education issued Department Order 83, S. 2003 – Reiteration to DECS Order Nos. 70, S. 1999 and 26, S. 2000 (Prohibiting students of Elementary and secondary schools from using cellular phones and pagers during class hours.)

The DepEd came out with the memo after lewd and obscene picture messages particularly those capable of Multi-Media Services (MMS) proliferated affecting schoolchildren. The prohibition on the use of cellphones include a ban on the use of cellphones by the students during class hours; and for teachers and parents to devise ways to educate students on the responsible use of cell phones to prevent them from engaging in misguided and immoral activities.

With the opening of classes a few weeks away, the DepEd should reiterate this memo to all public and private schools and find ways to have it implemented. One of the problems raised is that schoolchildren are distracted by the games and social networking sites on their phones which make them lose interest in schoolwork and other academic activities. While it helps them access information to expand their knowledge on their subjects, they are vulnerable to sites that are not vetted as accurate and reliable sources.

This is a concern that parents and the school should find a common ground for the best interest of children’s education.

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