In a typical 2nd or 3rd grade class, I would say at least half the students have cell phones, some of them, quite nice phones, better than mine, I'd say. Once you get into 5th and 6th grade classes, most if not all students, will have a cell phone.
It seems, though that these children, being children, haven't learned the proper etiquette with which to use a cell phone. They don't realize that there are appropriate times, and inappropriate times to answer phone calls and make phone calls. I understand this, as they are all still elementary students, but what really floors me is the parents who still haven't realized appropriate phone etiquette. I can not tell you how many times a student has received a phone call and told me it is their mother or father and they HAVE to answer it. Generally, I say no. Call after class is finished. Sometimes these students try to sneak a phone call when I'm not looking or just give me the f* you look and answer it anyway. Sometimes the students actually listen to me, and their parents continue to call them until they answer. Really? What kind of example are you teaching your kids? It's ok to answer your phone in the middle of class? In this technologically advanced society, they should be able to figure out the mysterious TEXT MESSAGE to relay messages without interrupting class.
As I mentioned before, these children often have very nice phones. A few weeks ago, my students were showing me that you can take a photo with your cell phone, then edit it to make the photo look funny, animate it with blinking eyes, add shapes and colors, etc. etc. This same phone also had shortcut hand motions. If you made a triangle shape on the screen with your finger, it would open, say, the phone book, or call a certain person. In short, a clearly, very expensive phone, geared specifically for kids. When does it become too much? Maybe I'm biased. I'm a person who is rather minimalistic.... for someone in this day and age. As long as I have my computer and a functioning cell phone (aka, calls and sends texts) I'm a happy camper. I have an old MP3 player that I got from my cousin when she upgraded, but it only gets used once every 3 months or so. I do have my nifty camera, but I lived with a 2.3 megapixel from high school until last year. I don't see why young children should be given the newest and most exciting technology. If they are anything like I was, as a child, they tend to lose things and abuse them until they are no longer functioning.
Anyway, in short, I don't think elementary schoolers should have cell phones. Or if they do, they should be those emergency style phones that only call 5 numbers and receive calls only from authorized phone numbers. Kids are far too distracted by the technology in their pockets to focus in class.
Anyone else have similar experiences? What's your opinion on giving kids cell phones?