Cell phone policy should not apply during break time

Photo courtesy of Frederik Lipfert via Unsplash

By Kiara Amaya

From 7:25 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. students are not permitted to use their cell phones, including headphones such as airpods. This includes class time as well as break time such as passing periods, nutrition, and lunch. This policy is strictly enforced during the school day.  

According to the cell phone policy, “If phones are used, displayed, turned on, earbuds/earphones visible whether it be around the neck or hanging from the ears, the cellphone will be confiscated, two (2) hours detention will be assigned.” 

Although the policy is reasonable during classroom hours, it is not logical during nutrition and lunch time. These two breaks from learning are set aside as a necessary time for each and every student to relax, work, eat, etc. 

If the time is really for the student’s own personal benefit, then why are personal devices not permitted? The school already grants every student a personal Chromebook for four years. The Chromebook essentially does everything that a phone does. It includes a camera, the ability to communicate digitally with otherers, internet search capabilities, etc. One large difference is that there are many restrictions on these computers making them more “school-appropriate.” One cannot text a friend or watch the latest TikTok video on a Chromebook.

This makes sense during a test or a lecture, but why should we have these limitations on our break time?

Allowing the use of personal devices such as phones and airpods is not foreign in the real world. Being able to have access to them can help students practice restraint and enjoy their breaks at the same time. 

The very purpose of breaks is to provide time to reset. The average human brain can concentrate for about two hours before it needs a break, according to behavioral neurologist Borna Bonakdarpour. This is why nutrition and lunch times are set aside during the school day. For many students, these breaks are a much needed stress-relief.  

The use of one’s personal phone for watching mindless videos, playing a game, or even just listening to music would help students unwind and improve their day in order to motivate them to keep working in later classes. 

Cell phones also allow students to communicate with friends and family. Finding friends during nutrition and lunch if an agreed upon spot has not yet been established can be difficult with such a large population. Cell phones can then be used for students to ensure that they spend time with their friends. One of the most important factors in high school is socializing because it develops the students’ social skills, helping them with interpersonal skills for the future. 

Additionally, cell phones allow students to capture memories using the quality camera. Capturing pictures to look back on is an important part of high school. It gives people the chance to witness their own stages of life and remember old friends. 

Although personal devices can be distracting during class time, they should be allowed during personal breaks to allow students a chance to unwind.