Ways to Prevent Students From Using Cell Phones in Class

By Jaime Swanson; Updated April 24, 2017
Teachers need to be creative to prevent students from using their cell phones during class.

Cell phones are becoming more and more prevalent in our society, as is apparent by the number of children carrying them around on a daily basis. Because of this, this also means kids are carrying their cell phones to school. Cell phones can be distracting, and teachers and administrators work to find ways to prevent students from using their phones during class.

Keep That Phone Turned Off

School administrators and teachers should craft a policy that says students may have phones with them at school, but the phones must remain off throughout the school day. If you wish to be a bit more lenient with the students, allow phones during noninstructional periods, such as lunch or between classes. You will need to include in your policy a section banning text messaging, Internet and camera usage, as most phones today are capable of all three. Make your policy a zero-tolerance policy; if a student is caught using their phone when she shouldn't be, the phone will be confiscated until her parent comes and picks it up.

Provide Staff with Phones

Parents and students might feel they need to have their cell phones on them in case of an attack on the school, or elsewhere in the country, so they can keep in touch. This is a valid worry, but it can be quelled by the administration providing each teacher a phone in the classroom, so if something happens, there will be a line to the outside. This will help enforce your school's ban on cell phone use during the school day, as no one can say he needs outside access at all times -- it will already be there.

Points System

If you're teaching younger students, you can create a points system that rewards students for each time they remember to turn off or silence their phones. At the same time, this system can be used against students if they are caught texting or calling someone during classtime. Add the points gained, and subtract any lost, at the end of each week or month, and have prizes ready to give to the students with the best record. Prizes could be a pass on the night's homework, or they could be something small like a movie ticket or a treat at a local restaurant.

About the Author

Jaime Swanson started working as a journalist in 2001. She has written and edited for newspapers in northern Illinois, including the "Daily Southtown" and the "Daily Herald," both in suburban Chicago. Swanson holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University.