A bigger percentage of teenagers use the cell phones to convey information through the short message system that passes very direct information. This is done through the phone texting, instant online chat platforms that use the social media sites like the twitter, Facebook and Google among others. This method is preferred by more youths because it’s a little cheaper than voice calling. The use of short messaging system also protects privacy and secret use by the students, since they can communicate without anyone suspecting, including neighbor, parent or teacher.
According to Lenhart (page), the frequency of using cell phones by teens both in school and at home increases with age. Older teenagers use phones daily to talk to friends, while younger teens use mobile phones to call friends a few times per week. More than 70 % of 17-year-old teenagers owning phones are found to communicate with their friends daily on their cell, while just 28% of 12-year-olds with phones do the same. The remaining percentage of teens aged 12-14 talk to friends at least once a week.
Teens use cell phone for a number of other services that include: internet access, watching online movies, downloading material from the internet, live chat through social media among many others. These uses need strict monitoring by the parents to ensure that teens stay within the limits given and are responsible in the use (Zuckerman, et al page).
Owning cell phones by students has both advantages and disadvantages both to them and their parents. What makes owning cell phones by students be an issue is the abuse of use that has been exhibited, where many teens become addicted or use them for illegal or immoral practices that are of great concern to the parents (Ling page).This is because no parent would prefer their child to engage in immoral and illegal activities. This, therefore, leaves the debate whether to ban the teen’s use of cell phone in school and to control its use at home open. Currently, many cell phones offer Internet access, presenting the teenagers with an opportunity to visit websites that offer immoral materials and chat rooms that are unethical for a child to access. For example, many teens as a result of peer pressure access pornographic sites that corrupt their minds and may influence them to engage in sexual promiscuity. Students also use the cell phones for cheating in exams, which ultimately brings doubt on the authenticity of their results. This use has attracted a lot of interest from the educators and the stakeholders are currently considering whether cell phones are to be banned in schools or just controlled. Presently, many countries have banned possession of cell phones in an examination and test rooms to minimize the practice.
What Parents Can Do
To save the teens from these risks presented by the access of cell phones, parents need to discuss their children’s drives for having a cell phone. It should be made clear to the child that owning a phone should primarily be for safety, instead of being a symbol of status. They should also develop a set of regulations and responsibilities to be followed by the user during the day and at night, such as answering parents call immediately, identifying where and with whom the child is, turning the phones off at night and keeping them at a common place away from their bedrooms and even making the teens take responsibility for their own cell phone bills, which can be achieved through using prepaid service with limited minutes to talk (Ling page).The children also need to be courteous and be taught not to be a nuisance to the public, especially when talking at public places. This is because many people usually get irritated when others converse loudly on phones and occasionally use vulgar language.