What would a ban on cell phones in schools mean for parents and kids?

By: Jim Beaugez on May 10, 2024 2:46:46 PM


Mobile devices have become a mainstay of education in recent years, with schools adopting digital-first approaches to learning across the grade spectrum. These policies are having positive effects, too, by bridging the digital divide and preparing students for a digital world.

But when devices like cell phones are not used for educational purposes, the impacts are quite the opposite — they can easily distract students from their studies and result in lower grades. About two-thirds of U.S. students find them distracting, and their use results in a decrease in long-term information retention equivalent to half a letter grade.

Common Sense Media dug even deeper in its 2023 report “Constant Companion: A Week in the Life of a Young Person's Smartphone Use,” which tracked 200 students and found they checked their phones about 51 times a day — a median figure that ranges from just twice to a whopping 498 times. And 61 percent received more than 200 notifications daily, many during school hours.

Get tips on managing your child’s digital habits

In response, several U.S. states and the federal government are crafting legislation to reduce distractions caused by mobile devices when not used for learning. In 2023, Florida passed a law to do just that, and Indiana followed their lead this year. Oklahoma, Kentucky, Vermont are Tennessee are also considering laws to make their public schools phone free, while the Alabama State Board of Education is encouraging local school boards to regulate the use of devices on school property. In Mississippi, individual school districts make their own policies.

And it’s not just in the U.S. Last year, England joined France, Italy and Portugal in banning mobile phone use at school following a U.N. report warning about their use during school lessons when not warranted.

Reducing distractions caused by mobile devices when not used for learning could have positive effects, such as helping students focus on their studies and encouraging face-to-face socializing during break periods.

As NPR points out, school officials in states that have passed laws are now focusing on how to implement these changes. We’ll be watching to see how states in our footprint handle these issues.

Raising kids and teens in a complex digital world isn’t easy. Get tips from experts in our Parents’ Resource Center and align your kids’ online access with your family’s values. Check our Connect and Protect plans here.

C Spire is a privately-held telecommunications and technology company driven to deliver the best experiences in wireless, fiber internet, and business IT solutions such as internet, VoIP, cloud and managed services. Read more news releases and announcements at For more information, visit or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.