Teens, Cellphones and School

I just got a call from my son’s school: he was caught using his iPhone while in class and it’s been confiscated by the teacher. I now need to go into the school and sign it out, as per their policy.

Now, before you think it’s Draconian and a violation of his civil rights to have someone take his cellphone, I should point out that the school is actually rather liberal about phones, allowing students to use them before and after school, during lunch break and during their 30min morning break too. Some teachers even allow their use in certain circumstances during class, for example if they need to look things up on the Internet and don’t have a laptop computer handy.

surreptitiously using cellphone under table desk in school

I wouldn’t be that nice and I support the policy of “you’re in school, pay attention”, particularly seeing how smartphones are like “soma” for too many people, teens and adults alike. It’s okay to have them powered off. It’s okay to be offline for an hour or four. Really.

So my first reaction was to say “you keep it, I’ll get it in a few days…” but then I realized that it’s not the school’s responsibility to provide secure storage for an iPhone or other smart phone when something like this occurs, so I changed my tune and said I’d pick it up within the hour.

Now as to how long I’ll keep it before my son can see it again, well, that’s something I’m chewing on.

My first thought it that I’ll keep it until the end of the school week (Friday afternoon), meaning that he has a couple of days without the device at all.

Stupid decisions = frustrating consequences. That’s parenting, for better or worse.

Since my ex and I are trying to do a better job of syncing up with consequences so our children know we’re a team, not two completely disparate houses, however, I asked her what she’d do in this situation. So far, no answer, but I expect we’re in the same ballpark. This is an experiment and, of course, if she says “oh, I’d just give it back to him immediately” then I get to decide whether I’d agree with her — I don’t — or whether I’m going to do what I feel is best anyway.

Still, cause and effect. Is there any more essential element to parenting? And all these devices just make it 10x more complex.

2 comments on “Teens, Cellphones and School

  1. Did you give him any opportunity to explain why he was using the phone before deciding on a punishment? Be careful not to assume the Prosecution has a valid case before hearing the Defense’s arguments. Innocent until proven guilty in America still holds, right?

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