There are many pros for students having their own smartphones in schools. They allow parents to have instant communication with their child, can be a useful productivity tool and store emergency contact information. They allow for GPS tracking in case of emergencies (or for new drivers). However, there are also cons to students having cellphones in school. Teachers and administrators report that smartphones are a distraction when students are not disciplined in using them appropriately. In order to have the “best of both worlds,” parents can partner with schools to ensure that students and families get the benefits of having the device handy without sacrificing focus and safety during school hours.
There are many great online resources where families can learn more about keeping their children safe online. Some great places to start include Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) and Common Sense Media.
It is important to understand how messaging technology works at a high level. With the internet, we are able to filter content when students are on our WCPSS Chromebooks or on our network with any type of device (computer, tablet, or phone). If students decide to use their smartphones with their cellular service instead of our network, we are unable to filter that. On school buses, there is no wifi, so there is nothing to filter. At that point, what the students can access is limited by the settings on the phone.
Airdrop is different in that it uses Bluetooth technology to create a private peer-to-peer network between the devices. Airdrop connections are not connected to routers or even the internet in order to establish the connection. Because of how this connection takes place, it is not possible to filter or monitor those “drops” between phones. You can prevent unwanted airdrops by addressing the settings on the iPhone.