Should teenagers have smartphones? Utah teacher weighs in on viral social media post

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  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    March 22, 2018 9:01 a.m.

    Teaching youth how to handle technology is now a key part of parenting. Those who keep their children/youth from having access to technology are permanently wounding them, IMHO. When adults, they WILL have a smartphone. It is required for work in most professional positions of responsibility. The question is: How will they learn to appropriately use technology. Professionally, socially and even academically, a smart phone is an important part of life today.

    There is no one right answer to how to help youth learn to appropriately use technology. I believe that for a responsible, age mature teen that a "dumb phone" at 12 or 13, and a smart phone with limited apps access at 14-17 or so is a reasonable way to ease them into the tech world. Let them know that you as a parent have a right to access their phone if needed, but respect their space. When they make a mistake, don't over-react, but help them understand the damage/harm that it does to them and to others, including you. By the time they are in college and beyond, they will need to be self-regulated in their tech use.

    Building a wall around them is not the right answer, IMHO.

  • crimendelsiglo where there ain't no freaking snow, UT
    March 18, 2018 10:14 p.m.

    watch a kid in almost any situation and they are texting home that no one has kidnapped them, yet. talk with your grand daughter for 15min and see how often she looks at her fone - mother checking in ; or your grand son. it is an emergency from home or a game he is playing. all this while you (s)he are having a "versation" but not a conversation, because the kid isn't hearing the context of your "versation" with him/her

    that happens every 10min or so daily

    until 2a.m.

  • hankel Butte, MT
    March 18, 2018 8:59 p.m.

    "She says she fights a battle every day in the classroom because kids cannot put the phones down." Why are the students allowed to have their smartphones in the classroom in the first place? The policy in our school is that phones are to be turned off and in the backpacks when the students enter the school. Any student who violates that policy has his/her confiscated and taken to the office. The parent has to come get the phone. This prevents a world of headache for the teacher.

  • WJ_Coach West Jordan, UT
    March 18, 2018 6:44 p.m.


    As a teacher, it's the administration and parents that hold the key. We can take their phone away in class but unless there is some sort of consequence from parents and administration its pointless. I had a student who wouldn't put his phone away so I called an administrator to deal with it. The administrator told me after that I had over reacted to the situation and in the future just let the student keep his phone and refer him later. Meanwhile, I was to let a student break my class rules in front of the class. What credibility as a teacher would I have with the rules in my class? Parents are the one's that need a reality check too.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    March 18, 2018 3:43 p.m.


    Teachers know who they are and what the responsibilities are.

    It is difficult to educate a child who puts their phone away at the teacher's request only for that child to keep pulling it out and checking it through out class. It's distracting for them and other students. And it happens. A lot.

    Elementary kids don't need phones, and teens don't need phones during class.

    If a parent has to have such timely access to their children that warrants them carrying a phone all during school maybe homeschooling would be a better option.

  • melezag Provo, UT
    March 18, 2018 1:49 p.m.

    I think teachers forget who they are. They are not the parents. They are there to help educate our children. If I send my child to school with a phone, it is my choice to be able to contact my child. Certainly a teacher can request that phones be put away during instruction periods, but to forbid them entirely or to confiscate them is stepping outside their bounds.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    March 18, 2018 10:28 a.m.

    Can't a school or a teacher ban smartphones from the school or from a classroom? If something is interfering with the educational process I would think that whatever it is can be prohibited. Or is there some legal right for students to have these things in school?

  • Utah Teacher Orem, UT
    March 18, 2018 10:19 a.m.

    No kid needs a smart phone. I've seen these same problems at our middle school with 12,13, and 14 year old kids. There is absolutely no reason to get one for them. That is unless you are trying to send your kid down a path so dark that it will affect them for the rest of their life. Yes, I think it is that serious.

    Also, for those saying just put the safeguards on their phone so you can check what they are doing, it doesn't work. Kids have ALWAYS found a way around this stuff. They always will. That is what they are good at doing. They are great at solving problems.

    You have to teach them what is right and wrong but not providing easy access to this filth is a big help. Also check what kinds of phones their friends have. That will open up your eyes.

    What a plague on our society and it is we, the parents, that are cursing our own offspring.

  • swsmartlady Mesa, AZ
    March 18, 2018 9:19 a.m.

    @Boyd in Provo - pretty sad when teachers don't have the ability or "right" to demand that all phones be left at a designated spot in the classroom.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    March 17, 2018 10:37 p.m.

    If a parent provides a smart phone for his child, is there some way the parent can have access to their child's smart phone records? Can a parent see what the child has seen and hear what the child has heard or said? If a kid knows a parent has access to his smart phone records, he would probably be pretty careful or lose his smart phone.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    March 17, 2018 8:54 p.m.

    Flip phones with talk and text only are great! This allows kids to be in contact with friends but keeps them away from the majority of social media.

    It's really ok for a kid to not have everything "everyone else has". They are better for it.

    No kid needs a smart phone.

  • lnkmom Lehi, UT
    March 17, 2018 6:53 p.m.

    I have three Jr High aged children, none of which have a phone. I agree that parents are the key here. Parents are the ones that are succumbing to the peer pressure. Parents are the ones that worry about "Little Johnny " not fitting in or possibly being made fun of. Then they hand these devices over to CHILDREN (Can we all please remember that we are talking about children, even when it's terms in High School?) without any supervision or ground rules (my kids have tablets and lap tops... but they NEVER go in their rooms). Then mommy and daddy wonder why their sweet baby is in trouble for bullying, or sexting, or failing their classes because they were up all night on their phone.

    Society as a whole is doing these children a huge disservice.

  • imagion Draper, UT
    March 17, 2018 6:09 p.m.

    Great science project, thanks for raising a very important question. The problem I seem is so many people are living in an artificial world, people are losing track of reality.

    People standing next to each other, text rather than talk. When you add in online schools, its possible to do everything virtual and begin to wonder why you have a mouth and ears? I would suggest you all read "The Spoken Word" from Sunday March 12, 2018, Spoken word is titled "Connectedness".

    I'm very impressed with the Mother who signed her children up for art class as well as tennis lessons. This achieves putting something else into your hands and putting people next to you to use your mouth and ears. What a great idea, I'm sure there are others it just requires thinking outside the box. Best wishes, agree we all need to have "phone free times", meals for instance. Establish places or times where phones are not permitted. As parents, set the example, it is possible--and it is worth it.

  • Boyd in Provo , 00
    March 17, 2018 5:24 p.m.

    " She says she fights a battle every day in the classroom because kids cannot put the phones down."
    "As I've watched this technology change, I've seen a direct correlation to the happiness of the child."
    There is no better individual to actually see the direct results of having a smart phone than a teacher who is with the children all day long and personally witness the negative effects of a smart phone in the teenagers hands. Yes, we have had smart phones dumped in our laps but are they necessary for the young minds to have to learn and cope with the adverse effects of these phones at an early age? I don't believe so. We survived just fine in our own teenage years without them and it can still be done. But can the parents make those choices?