Cell Phones and Studying

I get more questions from parents about cell phones than other topic: Should I let my child have her phone on while studying?  Are cell phones addictive?

There’s no research on cell phones and addiction.  Scientifically speaking, we don’t know if teens can become addicted to their phones or not.

However, I have strong personal feelings and observations about cell phones.  TV, music and cell phones going off during study time can all be distractions, but I find the cell phone is the worst, because it engages the emotions and requires a response. This is especially true during the teen years, when students are easily distracted.

A cell-phone free hour during study time is in your children’s best interest.  If your teen is planning a joint project with a friend, then yes, allow the phone.  But if students are reading, highlighting or writing papers, they are better off using a desktop or laptop computer.  I have seen kids who really can’t turn their phones off, and that concerns me.  I’ve seen children miss meaningful experiences because they were texting the whole time.  After working at a Level 1 trauma hospital, I’m also worried about teens driving while texting.

If your child already owns a phone, teach her how to use it so it helps and not hinders her development.  And if your child doesn’t already own one, put off that purchase for as long as possible.

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