Should Teenagers Have Cell Phones?

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Students at a high school in one of Chicago’s large suburbs are in a great deal of trouble this week because of allegations that they have used their cell phones to help operate an illegal drug ring.  Authorities confiscated several student cell phones and relied on them for an evidence trail to identify others who might have sold or bought illegal drugs.

Jim Conrey, speaking on behalf of the school district, defended the move, explaining, “That’s perfectly within our rights within the school.  If schools have credible evidence that cell phones are being used in some kind of trafficking … we have every right to take the phones.” School officials looked specifically at records of text messages on the phones.  At this point, parents have not been officially notified of any details related to the ongoing investigation.

Possible misuse of phones in schools is not limited to such extreme cases as this one.  Teachers have long lamented that students like to spend class time texting one another and that phones can be used to cheat on tests, with students looking up answers on the Internet.  As phones have become smaller, these uses of them have been ever harder for school officials to spot.

Some parents have reached the point where they do not want their teens to have a phone.  In these cases, they can recycle cell phones in order to recoup some of the cost of the units.  This practice also helps the environment by preventing pollution.