Still have questions?

Join Common Sense Media Plus for timely advice from a community of parents like you.

Join now

Back to topic overview

Cellphone Parenting

What are the rules about using cell phones at school?

Every school has different rules for cell phone use, but most allow students to bring phones so long as they turn them off during class. Parents: check the school's rules -- and make sure your kids are mature enough to follow them. Generally speaking, kids should use their phones sparingly and only when permitted, before and after -- but not during -- the school day, such as when they need a ride, there's an emergency, their plans change, or Mom or Dad calls. (And parents, although it can be tempting to text your kid during the day, resist the urge unless it's truly urgent.)

Students have been known to misuse their cell phones at school. Make sure they know not to use the phone for unsanctioned purposes, such as cheating, harassing teachers and videotaping it, taking pictures of other kids without their permission, and so on. Some violations have serious consequences -- and the evidence is all on the phone.

What are your school's rules about cell phone use?

Was this answer helpful?
Sign in or sign up to share your thoughts


Teen, 13 years old written by Katty katlover

My school has a rule against cellphones as well as gum and many other things but in my classes my teachers don't care if I chew gum or have my phone in my pocket, in fact sometimes they ask us to take out our phones and encourage us to use them for educational purposes
Teen, 14 years old written by oah10

At my school if your teacher sees your phone they will take it. The only time you can have it is before final bell, during lunch, and after school.
Teen, 13 years old written by Oopina

In my school we can use our phones but during class we have to have them silent and in our pockets. And when it’s brake we can use them but for cyber bullying reasons we can not take photo’s or videos also not allowed to call or text unless a teacher says we can.But we also have to still interact to the people around us. Sometimes when our computers are flat we use our phones as a backup.If someone has not silenced or turned off there phone it will be but in a good stable cushion box then after class returned. That’s what my High school does
Teen, 13 years old written by Funbunny456

We have to give our phone to the teacher at start of school to make sure we don’t play on it that’s if we have a phone of course and we get them back end of the day
Teen, 14 years old written by oof1

So, my school is strict. When you go into PE u must put your phone in the box or it gets taken off you, checked by the teacher and you're not allowed to collect it you need your parents to. Though your not even allowed it through our the day you must have it on silent or off in your bag. I completely understand the teachers dont want us on our phones for obvious reasons such as students not paying attention in lesson. Though having a phone can save so much time for you like for example there wasn't enough computers in my Maths lesson so me and my friend had to waste the whole lesson looking for Tablets to use when we could've just used our phones. Your not even allowed your phone after the bell at the end of the day and when you want to call your parents for a lift home or something so you have to go to the office, surprise surprise you go to the office they're busy they send you to student support they're busy too and send you to the office so your just there at school waiting for them to find time to ring your parents.
Adult written by Scalefusion

Unlike any specific rules, there must be a device policy that educational institutions must follow and implement a robust Mobile Device Management solution to manage and secure all devices used by students to prevent misuse and distractions.
Teen, 16 years old written by Stevenn17

My school wants to take all our phones when we walk in the school and give them back to us after school is over. I’m worried that a teacher might break our phone while it’s in their possession. I’m also wondering if there is any laws that have been broken by doing so.
Kid, 11 years old

At my charter school, all phones and portable electronic devices (Excluding our school-issued laptops) must be powered off and silenced during school hours. You are allowed to have your phone/device before the first bell and after dismissal, though. If a student is caught with their phone during school hours, it will be taken.
Teen, 13 years old written by Ch0wM3in

Ever Since i Came to My School Middle School, The Rules Have always been strict, As well as the phone rule Somewhat....You Have to put your Phone Away once the first bell rings and can take it out after school, It's not Aloud All day/ During Lunch or Even Nutrition(Aka Just some freetime)..If they see your phone at all, They Can Take It, They Can Take your phone for either the whole day or until the end of class If it Goes off and rings...i mean, Not that strict but "Mesa View Middle school" Is strict-ish And Acts like they Are Perfect aswell as Has a Very Bad Reputation
Kid, 11 years old

At my school you need to have your phone on silent some teachers (not all of them) have trays to put your phone on the only times your aloud to use it is during any breaks or free time and lunch time. You also can't use it in the halls for safety reasons.
Teen, 13 years old written by fghazza

My school has really knuckled down on its phone use rule recently. In the beginning, we were told within form time that starting from next week there would be a new rule that if you were seen within the school site with your phone out, you would be asked to put it away and being seen repetitively with it out would mean a detention (this also applied before the school bell-which should not be a rule). The reason for this was to limit antisocial behaviors within the school where the "gamer" kids would not talk to each other. What I do not understand though is that books can be just as antisocial. For example One morning I was sitting in the school canteen reading a boo and then one of my friends appears to read a book and then finally another one and all three of us sat there not talking to one another reading...what is the school going to do,ban books as that is the exact reason as to why they banned our phones. I have another reason as to why the phones should not be banned, I, myself own a horse at a local livery yard and I am only able to go down before and after school, the yard has my phone number but not my schools so if anything happened to my horse, they would not be able to get hold of me, they would try to call my dad but if he was at work he would be unable to do anything because he works 2 hours away, so I would be unable to know if anything was wrong with my horse. Finally...Bereavement. Unfortunately, everyone experiences the death of a loved one and what if it so happened to be within school hours, your parents would be unable to call you and bring you home. To conclude, I believe that phones should not be banned from schools as if there was an urgent emergency, your family or a doctor would be unable to contact you.
Teen, 13 years old written by drewseedot

Our school is really cracking down on cellphone use. You need a pass from a teacher to use it anywhere on school property, and those passes are only obtainable if you need to use technology. That's fairly dumb, because the school provides students iPads, both Windows laptops and MacBooks, and a computer lab anyways. That's 4 sources of internet. The classes are unbelievably small, too, so you could easily fit two separate grades in the computer lab. This makes no sense to me. Either take the easy way and ban all smartphones, or crack down on the situation in a better way. Just allow them to listen to music. Maybe they're having a bad day. They don't want to talk to anyone, so give them a way to have alone time that isn't frowned upon. Because of these rules, you're not respecting the children's transition into adulthood, you're making them look weird if they don't feel comfortable socializing, and you make no sense. There is already portable internet available in the school. I am really confused.
Teen, 13 years old written by KBDawn

My school takes up our phones even if it is before school hours i think that it is wrong because until the bell rings we should be able to have our phones out but I do agree if it is during school hours we can get it taken up. I got my phone taken up before school hours and now I have to pay 20 dollars to get it back. THAT IS JUST WRONG !!!!!!
Teen, 13 years old written by Olivia4977

As a student I feel it is not fair for students to not be able to have their phones on them , when they are not using it as a distraction or in classes .At my school you are only allowed to have it after school and in certain areas around the school at that time . Even if you are caught with it after school in the hall it will be taken away for 5 business days ( a week ) and you are also given a demerit . I feel this is unfair especially during modern times where everyone uses their cellphone for school and as a communication device . In a state of an emergency such as a fire the office/ front desk/ teachers can`t call over a 1000 parents in time for everyone to get to safety. I feel this is not fair and should be looked at and taken into consideration .
Teen, 13 years old written by tufcat13

Most schools are getting stricter and stricter with their rules about cell phones. At my school, we have extremely strict rules. You are to have your phone on silent. If you have a smartwatch or any kind of watch, if it beeps, they will take it away, smartwatch or not. If they see a spot bulging out in your pants or binder that looks like a phone, if it is a phone, you will automatically have it taken away. I would just recommend having your kid either leave it at home or have it turned OFF and in their LOCKER all day.
Kid, 12 years old

At my school the rules are -Phones aren’t allowed unless allowed by a teacher - Most teachers let you listen to music on your phone during work time - No phones in hallways
Teen, 13 years old written by adevanath1

The main rule is not to let an adult see you with your phone. Another rule is silence you phone. I am telling y'all from experience.
Kid, 12 years old

It really depends on how good your student is, honestly. The school will be lenient about phones if there aren't really enough problems to escalate. However, you need to realize that some teachers are not okay with phones in the classroom, and you should make sure beforehand that they are allowed. My school allows phones during the free time before class starts, and at the end of the last class of the day. Not lunch and recess, though.
Kid, 12 years old

Here are my school rules - only use phones in class with teacher permission (only at lunch) - No headphones (earbuds ok)
Parent of a 11-year-old written by girlygirlproduc...

At my school (grades K-6), only 6th graders can bring theirs. (Btw I’m in 6th grade). BUT, the teachers cannot hear or see it so I’m like, “how are we supposed to get on it?” So I just get on my phone in the bathroom and when we go outside at 2:30. I keep it in my purse.
Kid, 12 years old

Were not allowed on our phones to be switched on. Once A teacher heard my phone ringing because I forgot to turn it off and she sent me to timeout for the whole day, the next day. TYhey took my phone and told me my parents had to come get, however my mum or dad couldnt come collect it. So they took my phone for 2 days.
Teen, 15 years old written by f.ool

Hi, I'm a sophomore in high school and my school makes us turn off our phones completely and put them in a phone pocket holder that sits on the wall or on a table. The school claims that it is not liable for any stolen (there already has been a phone stolen) or broken phones that were in the phone pocket. They also claim that they are taking our phones away because kids are using their phones to sell drugs, however, they are still able to do that during lunch or passing periods, because we get our phones back. And I was wondering, is the school allowed to do that? Because if we refuse to put our phones into the pockets, we are punished with a referral and a 3-hour detention after school even if we simply forget to put our phones away. Sometimes, some teachers will take our phones out of the pockets and look at the lock screen to find out whos phone goes off during class. In my opinion, I don't think that this phone pocket is ethical nor appropriate, especially for highschool students.
Teen, 13 years old written by Tyronlih

This isn't not much of a reply but more of a WHAT? So your school makes put your phone in pockets of the classroom and if you don't, you are punished. The school makes you do this but is not liable if they get stolen or broken. From my knowledge this shouldn't be allowed because they are making you do something that can cause your property or parents (if your parents bought it) they are not liable if it gets stolen they should be because if you don't you get punished. You should check if the policy and rules say anything about the liability awareness.
Teen, 13 years old written by mxlky

I have no idea of what the rules for high school are, but, for elementary school you could only use it on the last day of school or when we had a party (1 hour indoor recess usually with a movie). For middle school you can use it at recess, when your done with work, and some other stuff.
Teen, 13 years old written by Caitlin2525

While I was in elementary school, we had to keep our phones in our bags for the whole day. For the school I went to for 6th grade, you could use your phone every day at lunch and when you were done with your work in class. As for the school I'm currently going to, they tell us to keep our phones in our lockers. No one does it, and the teachers don't really care. They also tell us to turn it off, and people, once again, don't care. All we do is keep them on silent in our pockets, and earlier in the year, could use it on certain days at lunch if we were previously good. Now that we have today (early hours of Tuesday the 12th), Wednesday, and a high school tour Thursday as our last days of school, the teachers don't care anymore. I use it frequently in Algebra, and my Spanish teacher encourages it. I even have a little fan that I plug into my phone in Science. If you want to find the little fans, go to GameStop. They plug into your phone's charging port.
Kid, 10 years old

At my elementary school,you have to keep your phone in your bookbag the whole day.if your teacher hears it or sees it,you get on big can only use it on the bus,if there is a emergency you got to use the school phone in the office.Some kids bring there phones to school(one kid brought a IPHONE X)but dont even use them.In the neighboring district,you can use it when ever you want!!!!when i go to middle school i can only use it if i get a special reward.
Teen, 13 years old written by itsCOOLGUYRY

You can only go on your phone after and before school unless the teacher tells you you can. i oftin go on it in the bathroom
Teen, 15 years old written by CaTaco

I can tell that most schools are pretty leaniuate on cellphone use. Which is cool but im looking for an answer towards what happened in my algebra class. My friend and I were working on are assignment, being quiet, and following basic rules. But are sub was drill sergeant rude. Well, she reached into my friend's pocket, and took his phone. She had to literally dig threw his pocket to get it, and no we had no previous warning. I don't know how to get the student handbook to look for myself, so I was seeing if anyone here knows if this allowed.
Teen, 16 years old written by h a m

my school doesn't really care so many kids have their phones out during class. Recently, I've been leaving my phone at home. And it has been quite beneficial for me and could be for others.
Teen, 13 years old written by SomeKid373

Dear god, my school recently changed the cell phone rules to allow them during class, and its pretty chaotic. Half of my classmates don't get any work done, they're all on snapchat, and the teachers don't seem to care.
Adult written by Kei T.

It depends on the school or sometimes the teacher. While I was attending high school we could use our phones all the time, but it was an engineering school where technology was praised, so that could also be the reason.
Kid, 10 years old

At my school, you leave it in your bag and turn it off. Next year, I will put it in my locker and only be able to use it on breaks.
Kid, 10 years old

At my school, If you bring a phone, Including an iPod, You need to put it on do not disturb and put it in this special pocket thing that hangs on a wall. At the end of the day, You can get your phone back. Also we are only allowed to use our phones, only to contact parents, in the courtyard from 3:15 to 3:30. If you need to call a parent during school hours you need to use the classroom phone.
Kid, 11 years old

Depends on the school. At my school, unless you are permitted, you cannot use your phone. You can use it before and after school. Most kids at my school don’t listen to this rule though.
Kid, 11 years old

At my middle school they say we can't text after dismissal which is basically when we are standing up walking to our buses. My phone sometimes opens random apps, and it opened messages and the teacher came over and asked my name then she said "That's how we get our phones taken away" and she said it in a matter that sounded like she thought I was stupid! I looked her in the eye and I was thinking "why can't we have our phones out while loading buses?" Could someone pllzzzz tell me why if you can't then clearly my teacher doesn't know what she is talking about I guess!
Kid, 12 years old

At our school, cell phones must be turned off in class unless a teacher approves it. If you use it in class, it is held in the office for a parent to pick it up. If it rings in class, you can get it back at the end of the day.
Teen, 13 years old written by donnali

At my school, they don't allow phone in the school. You have to keep them in your locker, and if you are caught using your phone in school, even after dismissal, they can take away your phone. Some kids try to sneak their phone in class and take pictures, which is why they don't like us using our phone.
Kid, 11 years old

At my (elementary) school, you have to hand your phone in if you bring it. There's a sticky with your name on it and you can get it at the end of the day. You can use it during school in emergency situations. The school does this because kids would text during class. At the middle school I'll attend next grade, you can use it before school, after school, and during lunch.
Teen, 13 years old written by SGHaggarty

My school (in Ontario, Canada) has pretty strict rules about cell phone use. They allow you to use personal devices with permission for class work and during recesses. If you need contact with a partner on a project, you are allowed to call or text them on your phone.
Teen, 15 years old written by Katie14633

Ever school is different. At my school we are allowed to have cell phones but they are supposed to be turned off during class. During break, lunch, before, and after school we can use them.