Should kids have access to their smartphones while in school, especially in the classroom?

The debate is heating up in the state of Utah after Governor Spencer Cox recently sent letters to school principals and the Utah State Board of Education urging them to ban school children from having access to the devices while in class.

“We all know that cell phones are a distraction and when we put phones away we can actually focus and study. Cell phone-free learning environments will help our teachers teach and our students learn. We want to give our schools every opportunity to succeed and so I hope our local school districts and charter schools will join me in this effort to keep phones in backpacks or lockers during class time.”

-- Governor Spencer J. Cox.

Cox also cited numerous studies that show kids use their phone "for more than 10 minutes" on non-school related topics while in class.

A study published this week found that students get between 6- and 12-percent higher scores on tests when smartphones have been banned in the classroom.

Steve Dunham of the Washington County School District agrees that learning can be improved with a classroom ban on smartphones, but he said we need to proceed cautiously.

"For a child, they have a different perspective because they've grown up with (a smartphone) and their brain has attuned to it differently," he said. "I've seen panic attacks from kids when their cell phone is taken away."

A bill to create a law that would ban smartphones in classrooms has not been passed yet, but Cox and other officials say one should be enacted soon.

“If you go back and look at the data, learning loss in our country, and all over the world, started in about 2012 when the smartphones became ubiquitous,” Gov. Cox said.

The arguments against banning smartphones in classrooms don't hold much water, with one blogger saying, "They offer a measure of safety for children, can be used by students for research and learning, expose students to academic information and new learning formats and offer individualized learning platforms to students."

The battle is heating up and is far from over.

KDXU 890 & 92.5 logo
Get our free mobile app

Local So. Utah FB Pages Are Great -- Until They're Not


There are a lot of local Facebook pages centering on things we care about. I love community pages that talk about local issues.

You've got St. George Word of MouthWashington City MattersHurricane Utah CommunitySanta Clara Community News and SharingIvins, UT Community Group, plus groups for Leeds, Toquerville, LaVerkin, Enterprise and more. Add to that Facebook Market Place for various local areas, neighborhood stops and even pages for various geographic church groups, and you can get a real feel of community even though it is all taking place on the World Wide Web.

Franck Boston

For the most part, these groups are good, honest positive places to learn more about what's happening in your town or neighborhood. They turn into neighborhood watches, with news being shared and videos being posted about local crimes, lost animals and weird happenings.

But every once in awhile these groups can turn nasty.

In one group the other day the post was simply "Worst local restaurant. Go!"

Another asked if anyone had ever seen worse local government management.

A third spent time complaining about city policy, then asking for corroboration.

Hashtag notification concept

While I think these pages have good intentions, there are times when I wonder. Because they are run by private citizens and not the actual city or neighborhood they represent, there are times when things descend into, well, the cesspool.

Comically, there are those internet trolls who defend the negativism by saying it's all about free speech, as if neighborhood pages (monitored by private citizens) or even Facebook in general (monitored/censored by Zuckerberg et al) was ever actually about freedom of speech.

What we all have likely learned is that unpleasant people are even more unpleasant on social media and pleasant people are seemingly more tolerant to those Debbie Downers.

The truth of the matter is this: It's really up to us to take the high road, to act with class and dignity, to follow the Golden Rule. Even on Facebook.

Handwriting Be The Reason Someone Smiles Today
KDXU 890 & 92.5 logo
Get our free mobile app

LOOK: Baby names losing popularity in the 21st century

Stacker took a look at the names losing popularity in the 21st century, using data from the Social Security Administration.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

Fame and Fortune: These Are the Richest Celebrities in the World

Stacker compiled a list of the world's richest celebrities using data collected from Celebrity Net Worth's rankings by current net worth.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

More From KDXU 890 & 92.5