5 Tips for Parents – Cell Phones at School

The struggle is real – teenagers want smart phones, but they are also a distraction that most of us adults did not have when we were at school.


How can parents encourage responsible use of phones at school?


Tip 1: Decide what you think is important first, then clarify your expectations about phone use at school with your teenager.

This parent created a cell phone contract for her son – check out her list of expectations.  Direct, but also amusing.


Tip 2: Do not text or call your student during class.

Even if there is an emergency, call the school office and have a message delivered.

From my classroom experience, there are parents that text or call their kids during class regularly.  It is impossible for a teacher to be consistent with a cell phone policy in class if the parent is the one causing the phone to vibrate.

During a lesson…

“Please put your phone away.”

“But it’s my mom.”

That is tough and awkward situation for a teacher to handle and it always disrupts the class.


Tip 3: Email teachers at the beginning of the semester and ask about their cell phone policies in class.

This information might be in their class syllabus, but I’m suggesting that you still ask directly right away.  There are teachers, like me, who allow phones in class because class activities are online.   Usually there is access to laptops or desktops if that is the case, but if you’re going to have expectations and consequences at home about cell phone use, it’s good to know each teacher’s policy.


Tip 4: Take the phone when grades drop below your expectation or when you are notified about a problem with cell phone use at school.

This is the MOST effective parental intervention to motivate a student to fix their grades or modify behavior.


Tip 5: Go “Old School”

If the smart phone continues to be a distraction that you are paying for, a student doesn’t need to take it to school.  If they aren’t ready for the responsibility, there are other options.

  • Flip phones are still available. This teenager chose to downgrade and wrote about how it was a good thing.
  • All classrooms have landlines.  Kids can call home if necessary.  That’s what the kids do who don’t have phones.
  • Almost all school staff have phones and will make a call for a student who is staying after school.


* * *

While researching for this post, it was a bit overwhelming to see how much is out there and how scary some of these “teenagers and cell phones” topics can be.

These topics didn’t fit the focus of this short article, but they are important.  I know you are busy and have a lot on your plate as a parent of a teenager.  I’ll leave this list here for you to view as you have time.


How to find any hidden apps:



When relationships become digitally abusive:



Cyberbullying Resources:



Sexting – Legal Consequences:



Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions or comments,  please leave them below.  I am accepting students, so if you think I might be able to help your student, visit my full website, www.OnlineGeometryTutor.com to learn more about online tutoring.



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