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Front Page » October 28, 2008 » Opinion » Rantings and Ravings
Published 2,245 days ago

Rantings and Ravings


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By TERRY WILLIS
Sun Advocate reporter

I love having a cell phone. It has been a godsend many times as I have gotten lost while trying to get somewhere new. I can pull over and call and tell people exactly where I am and then magically, I am found.

I use it to take all my calls from coaches after games. I am not tied to my home or a desk waiting for them to call back. I have done my interviews in the middle of bike rides and hikes and even while watching my grandkids play their sports or grocery shopping.

It automatically connects me with my granddaughter when I am running late and am not home when she gets home from school. She, however, does not have one, although she is convinced she should.

I have asked her why she needs one. She is only eight and one of her friends at school says they have one, but they can't bring it to school. She says that then she can tell me where she's at all the time.

I say I already know where she's at and if I don't then she is in trouble.

I tell her that her friends all have phones at their houses so she can call me when she gets there. She can use the phone at the office at school when something comes up. And lastly she needs to tell me where she is going before she leaves home.

End of discussion.

But for many parents the debate is not as clear cut. Older kids make good cases for the use to help them touch bases with parents. The cell phone is a wonder to our generation. For kids these days it is a way of life. My granddaughters still don't completely understand the difference between the cell phones and our cordless landline.

But with this new technology has come new issues. Cell phones in school is a hot topic these days. The issues are multiple.

Most phone have camera and this has led to kids using the phone to take compromising pictures of others and sending them around causing great embarrassment. They have also been known to send shots of themselves they wouldn't want their parents to see.

Texting during class is also a problem in some classrooms. Kids are so adept at texting they can do it without looking. Ringtones with pitches only teens can hear make it hard to detect.

School officials are struggling with the balance of appropriate technology use and abuse. What they need is support from parents to value the education they want their child to have enough to back the school's decisions on this issue.

While we have become so reliant on the ability to be in touch at a moments notice, we can make it an hour or two without the device turned on.

Schools still answer their landlines and would notify a student of a family emergency. Most cell phones I know of have an answering machine feature and in box for messages.

We can't throw our hands up in the air and say it is too hard to control. This is an issue for both parents and educators to get together and stand firm on. Teachers alone cannot be the phone police.

There are many hours in the day. There is plenty of time for texting, calls and other fun things. Class time is limited, let's make sure our kids get every minute they deserve.

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October 28, 2008
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