Back to school series: Kids and cell phones
GRAVES COUNTY, Ky.— 75 percent of kids between 12 and 17 years old now have cell phones. That's up from just 45 percent back in 2004. Katie Dachs has three kids between 11 and 18 years old who have cell phones, and she says, "I really put the decision as long as possible. I didn't want it to be a peer pressure thing. But it got to be more of a safety thing, because they're involved in so many school activities."
Even family therapists say cell phones can be an important communication tool between kids and their parents, but without some rules and guidelines, things can quickly get out of hand. "I think that you have a whole lot less problems if you have some kind of level of structure and expectations in that area instead of just giving and saying go enjoy," says licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Roger Thompson.
District officials admit that keeping kids on task will be a challenge,so they're letting teachers decide if and when to use cell phones in class. "Some teachers have the students put them on their desk face down. Some teachers may want to take those up. Ultimately we leave that to the teacher in the classroom," says Graves County Chief Information Officer John McMillen.
McMillan says the district's ultimate goal is to work with teachers, students, and their parents to make cell phones a part of the learning process. Dachs says she doesn't think that's possible. " I don't see how they're gonna make to work to where they can actually do school work and not be distracted doing other things. I'm really worried about it."
Graves County is just one of many public school systems across the nation pushing the Bring Your Own Device program because of budget cuts in education.