Who are kids texting in school? You might be surprised

Using a cell phone for textingIf U R txting N class, U R not paying attn. Period. Although most schools ban cell phone use in classrooms, new research administered by California app developer textPlus revealed that 42.5% of 600 teens surveyed admitted they do it "sometimes" or "constantly" anyway. Almost 80% report they have never been caught. LOL? No.

How much was just spent on back-to-school supplies? What is paid monthly for tutoring, or pricey SAT prep? Let's not even start with private school tuition. If students are paying more attention to text messages than text books, perhaps it's money that would have been better spent on a tropical vacation.

Or is there more to passing digital notes in class than meets the eye? Turns out, 66% of students surveyed revealed they have received text messages from their parents during school hours. So maybe it's not the BFF beeping through, it's m-o-m and d-a-d. To give the 'rents the benefit of the doubt, most probably assume the phone is turned off and stowed away, and the student will check messages on breaks or after school. At least, that's the idea.

An informal polling of friends, revealed many parents are grateful for the technology and more than willing to pay for it.

Andy Kerr admitted he recently purchased a phone for his freshman son and has already sent him a text -while at school. "I wanted to have him check on a workshop at school," Kerr explained, "but then after I sent it, I was torn as to whether I hoped he got it before the bell rang, or after, on the bus home."

Mother and educator Jan Taylor said, "Come high school, texting is especially handy. My kids don't do it during class unless they know the teacher doesn't care much in spite of school rules." Still, Taylor says she only texts her teenagers at lunchtime and remembers phoning home herself. "My high school had several pay phones and I remember using them to call my mom about forgotten dentist appointments, lunch, a bad day." Taylor points out pay phones have gone the way of the typewriter and believes cell phones fill the gap.

In fact, Taylor says, "I think I use texting during the school day way more than they do -- if my schedule changes, or I can't pick someone up ... the lack of pay phones pretty much dictated getting that first kids' cell phone years ago."

Candy Johnson, mother of two high school students, said, "It's really handy to be able to text...it makes it easy for the kids to get important messages when they are able to check their phones between classes." Johnson said one of the main benefits to texting is organizing the logistics and schedule for a busy family. "It's nice to be able to notify the kids if I'll be picking them up in a different location, or at a different time. It's even nicer when they can text me to let me know they need to stay late for an activity so I'm not waiting in the car!"

It might explain why FastCompany reported in Who's That Texting Your Kids in Class 66% of the Time?, "Roughly 74 percent of students don't believe it's wrong to text during school time."

Not everyone agrees. Former teacher Amy Becker thinks there are too many distractions already. "I believe teachers should have locked cubbies or something where they can put cell phones before class or school and the kids can get them after school ... there's nothing that can't wait until the end of school and if it is an emergency, parents can just call the office or the classroom teacher." Now a parent of elementary school-aged kids herself, Becker says her view on cell phones hasn't changed. And to that, parents of teens might add, "yet."

Johnson said she agrees in part with Becker, but appreciates that many schools allow them to be carried for the "rare emergency" when having one might make a life-or-death difference. Johnson cites Columbine and other on-campus situations where kids on cell phones have relayed important messages to parents and police. "They wouldn't have had that opportunity had their phones been locked up for the day."

Suparna Lundquist remembers one instance when her son's elementary school declared a "lock down" due to a suspicious person on campus. "The teacher had the kids in lock down in her room but allowed them to call parents so we wouldn't worry and wonder why they weren't coming out of school," said Lundquist. "It was so nice to know and not worry."

"The era of cell phones and texting is here people," said Gigi Green. "I expect my [teenage] son to use his phone responsibly, or it is gone. it goes to school and is shut off during school time according to their rules." Green says, "bottom line, you as a parent must teach your child how to be responsible with their phone and texting... just as you do with manners, grooming, respect, responsibility...all those other normal things parents are supposed to teach their kids." Somethng 2 thnk abt. TTFN.


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