Our latest survey results here! Cell phones in elementary schools


I want to share some important results from a survey my team conducted with our community of Tech Talk Tuesday readers last week. Respondents were parents of elementary school age children. We received over 1,000 responses in just a couple of days—thank you everyone!

One question was “Do any of your child’s classmates have cell phones?"

Sixty percent of parents of 3rd-grade children (i.e., age 8 and 9) say that at least one of their child’s classmates has a cell phone. Our survey also found that just over half of the elementary age students that have their own phone bring it with them to school.

The takeaway is that cell phones are starting to be present in schools for kids as young as age 8.

In the survey, some parents shared that cell phones have been problematic in school and on the schoolbus. Many said that their elementary school lacks a cell phone policy and that they would like to see one established that calls for phones to be put away for the day.

This comment is reflective of many:

"Her elementary school has no cell phone policy! I think they assume that most kids don't have phones yet, however; she has a couple of friends who do have phones ... and she has said that on more than one occasion, there have been cell phones ringing in backpacks during class. Our district has a policy starting in middle school (all phones have to stay off and in lockers during the day), but in this day and age, the policy, unfortunately, needs to begin in elementary school!”

Another point that was made many times in the survey was about the use of phones on school buses. One parent said:

"My child (with no phone) says when bus drivers allow devices on the buses, no one talks to anyone. He says he looks out the window when no one else talks."

Our website Away For The Day is full of resources to help you work for a policy in your child’s school. Many parents, educators and others have used the research, testimonials, letter templates, and answers to common pushbacks to help them advocate for clear policies banning cell phones at school. Please take a pledge here:

if you support school policies that require students to put their cell phones away for the day in lockers, backpacks or other places all day. And, forward this blog post to anyone you know who cares about this topic. Thank you so very much! It is wonderful to be working together to make positive change.

For Today’s Tech Talk Tuesday here are some questions to get the conversation going:

  1. Share with your kids research from this page and ask them how phones can be distracting.

  2. What are some possible issues with younger and younger youth owning their own phones?

  3. What policy would you craft for a school? You can see model policies here.

  4. How can we give students a more visible platform to express their thoughtful opinions on this topic?

We would love for you to share this TTT any way that works for you, whether that’s on social media or via a newsletter. If you want to send it out in your newsletter we just ask that you credit us and link to our website, and let us know at lisa@screenagersmovie.com.

HOST A SCREENING to help spark change.

Do you organize professional development in schools? We now have a 6-hour, 3-part training module. Request more information here Professional Development.

Stay in touch with the Screenagers community on FacebookTwitter and leave comments below.