EditorialEDITORIAL: The effects of the cellphone ban in Ontario classrooms

ETC StaffNovember 11, 20196 min

ETC Staff

Newer generations of people tend to be looking down at their cellphone — a small screen they use to contact family and friends, and to check their social media feeds every day. 

The Ontario Government re-introduced a three-month-old education law this week, which doesn’t allow younger generations of students to use their cellphones during class time. 

The issue is that students are always on their electronic devices when they’re supposed to be paying attention to their teachers. 

Some schools across the province tried to address a no electronic devices policy, however students weren’t obeying these rules.

The Ministry of Education said the law would help students focus on their schoolwork instead of social media, and that the only exceptions are that students have to use them for educational and accommodation/special needs purposes.

The exceptions to this cellphone ban are good for the students from all over the province because they can see what other more academic capabilities that their phones have besides being that addictive social media hub. 

There are academic features including voice recording apps, note taking apps, calendar apps, email and internet sites they can use to do research on. 

If the government prevents the use of social media on cellphones while their teachers are conducting a lesson, students who don’t already use their electronic devices for academics would have to actually start using that other side of the electronic devices.

However, this issue has stirred up conflicts between school administrations and the students who cause mischief regularly for so long. 

Examples would be whenever they would call a student down to the office for cellphone usage during class, the student wouldn’t listen to them and keep using their electronic devices. 

Another good thing Doug Ford, the Premier of Ontario and his government are doing in contrast to OSAP and kindergarten is allowing students with special needs and accommodations to keep their phones with them in class. 

It’s a good thing because there are a lot of students with various types of special needs, who need their phones to do their homework.

Say for example, students with vision impairments who just transitioned from using large print textbooks to getting the same textbook in ebook format. They need their phones to be able to read the text to them, and sometimes record the class for them to listen to or else they aren’t able to do their work.

It’s not just them though, educational assistants working with students, who are prone to having secures need phones to record how long these epileptic attacks last because if they go on for too long the student needs to be rushed to hospital.

While most “typical” students have accepted this, the ban could bring the question, “why do they get to use their electronic devices, and we don’t?”

It’s not certain what’ll come out of the province’s cellphone ban in schools, however, it’s a good way to start getting students to respect their teachers as well.