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Cell Phones: Annoying Devices in Class

Posted September. 20, 2004 22:13,   


Even During Classes, Cell Phones Are Still On—

According to a survey conducted by Dong-A Ilbo of 245 students from seven elementary, middle, and high schools, it was found that 107 students (79.9 percent) out of 134 who own cellular phones keep their phones turned on during classes.

The figures are even higher for high school students, 98.4 percent of whom (60 out of 61) said they send a text message or play mobile games with their phones during classes. The survey found 90.2 percent of the high school students and 65.5 percent of the middle school students answered, “I have sent a text message during class,” and 60.7 percent and 50.9 percent, respectively, replied, “I have played a mobile game or watched moving images on the phone.” Moreover, a student from “A” high school in the affluent district of Gangnam in Seoul admitted to sending an average of 400 messages a day with cell phone fees charged reaching an average of 150,000 won a month.

Gim Cheol-hwan, a teacher at Changhyun High School located in Suwon, pointed out, “The cell phones turned on during classes haven’t really interfered with my teaching in class, but they do distract children from the class.”

Schools are Staging a War on Cell Phones—

At “B” Middle School in the Gangbuk area in Seoul, the incident in which a student was caught taking a picture up a female teacher’s skirt with his camera phone shocked everyone. One of the female teachers at this school said, “This boy photographed two female teachers, but the first one didn’t even notice when she was photographed. I feel really uneasy about where or when they are going to take a picture of me.”

“When I tried inflicting physical punishment on a student, his classmates around him warned, ‘Mr. Heo, they are photographing you.’ So I flinched a little,” said a teacher, known as “Heo,” at “C” Middle School in the Gangnam area.

At “D” Middle School in the Gangbuk area, two students who had cheated using their cell phones during a test received a zero last year. In fact, teachers confiscate phones before each text at many middle and high schools nowadays lest any students use them to cheat.

Gim Seong-ryong, a teacher at Chungwoon Middle School in Seoul, gave a bitter smile, saying, “Some students can’t run properly with their phones inside their pockets during P.E. classes. However, I can’t order them to leave their expensive phones inside classrooms for fear that they would be lost.”

Is There Any Alternative to the Problem?—

Many teachers raise the fact it is hard to control the students. Even parents think positively about their children carrying cell phones to school since they want to contact their children, who are busy going back and forth between cram schools, which offer supplemental and test-preparation programs, via phone after class.

A teacher from Daemyeong Middle School in Seoul said, “If I confiscate a student’s phone, his or her parents come to visit the school and ask for its return in a few days.”

Thanks to this hassle, some are saying that it is time to teach children “how to live with cell phones.”

“In order to keep up with the digital era, students have to be accustomed to state-of-art devices from an early age, but the problem is how to teach them properly,” Im Dong-won, principal at Chungwoon Middle School, pointed out.

Im Jeong-hui, the president of the Teen Center for Brighter Future, suggests, “Even adults find it difficult to turn off their cells at meetings. We are arranging a campaign to prepare each school to install a locker in order that students do not carry their phones into classrooms.“

Na-Yeon Lee larosa@donga.com