Tag Archives: school

Where is my smartphone? Or Let’s turn it off for a while.


I usually take a bus. Once I came across to a group of students who were on an excursion with their teacher. The bus was full of school children using their smartphones. Well, actually the scenery is not surprising as it happens most of the time. One may think that this kind of harmless interest to smartphones may not hurt anyone. However, a frequent use of smartphones can cause smartphone addictions, especially school children who are easily attracted and influenced by new gadgets. As a consequence, it probably triggers some detrimental addictions like gambling and information overload that might negatively affect them mentally. What is more, some scientific terms, that describe certain cases, exist related to this “smartphone issue”.

Above all, let’s define what smartphone addiction means. According to the Gale Encyclopedia of Public Health (2013), addiction is a brain disease that is insistent to an irresistible desire to participate in activities, despite the harmful consequences. Therefore, smartphone addiction can be construed as a tempting impulse of overusing Internet, games or apps that have its negative side effects on people using it. By the way, how would you feel if you had forgotten your phone at home, left or lost it somewhere? Note that there is a scientific name for this kind of fear you might experience. The site “Technopedia” explains that “a fear exhibited in a human being when their cell phone is unable to perform the most basic of communication functionality that it is designed to provide is named as “nomophobia”. However, the other side of the coin has something to say. Remember any friend who is addicted to his or her phone. What is he/she doing? Is he or she constantly playing or surfing the Web? Your friend is just taking no notice of you! This kind of practice of ignoring someone’s company in order to pay attention to one’s cell phone or other devices is named as phubbing (The Washington post). So, who are you? Are you phubbing or pubbed? Or have you ever felt fear of losing your phone?

As previously mentioned, smartphone addiction can be expressed in various forms. Gambling addiction is one of the widespread and well-documented problems, the availability of Internet made it even more accessible. Some Japanese researchers disclosed that smartphone-addicted children don’t make friends with those who use it less (as cited in Dollahite & Haun, 2012). It seems that gambling is a disease of digital age. According to Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, 80% of surveyed teenagers between 12-17 years say that they have gambled in the last 12 months. Whereas, 35% of them gamble at least once a week. Thus, students’ smartphone addiction can give rise to social, mental and academic problems as lowliness, depression and low academic performance at school.

Some students may say that they are not inclined to any sort of gambling as playing online games or so on. That definitely cannot be disclaimed. But, don’t they use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or any other social media to post their photos and videos or check one’s messenger every hour. Isn’t it an addiction, then? Inveterate surfing the Internet, reviewing news, blogs, feeds can be responsible for the students’ low attentiveness which may lead to low academic achievements. The consequences of these kinds of overloaded information may be as harmful as it is. For instance, isolation, loss of real-world relationships, social life and hobbies, or even worth mental disorders.

Obviously, we cannot deny the importance of smartphones in our life. All those countless benefits it has in education and in other domains. However, an overuse of smartphones can negatively affect like medicine which can be a remedy or vice-versa. So, do you, (your children or students) lose track of time when using your (their) phone? If you answered “Yes”, then maybe it’s a right time to revise your attitudes towards smartphone use and its role in order to prevent lamentable consequences. And what would you do if one of your students unconsciously kept using his or her smartphones most of the time?


Birdwell, A. F. (2012). Technology and the Mind. In N. E. Dollahite & J. Haun (Eds.), Source work: Academic Writing from Sources (195). Location: Sherrise Roehr.

Nomophobia. Definition. Retrieved from https://www.techopedia.com/definition/28392/nomophobia

Sternberg, B. S., Willingham, E. J., Asenjo, B., Wells, K. R., Alic, M., & Nienstedt, A. (2013). Addiction. In Gale (Ed.), The Gale encyclopedia of public health. Farmington, MI: Gale. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.nu.edu.kz:2359/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/galegph/addiction/0?institutionId=7630

Smith, M.A., Robinson, L., & Segal, J. (December 2017). Smartphone Addiction.
Trusted guide to mental & emotional health. Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/addictions/smartphone-addiction.htm

Seppälä, E. (13 October 2017). Are you ‘phubbing’ right now? What it is and why science says it’s bad for your relationships. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2017/10/13/are-you-phubbing-right-now-what-it-is-and-why-science-says-its-bad-for-your-relationships/?utm_term=.8833359a9007

Photo credit:https://www.cmoney.tw/notes/note-detail.aspx?nid=37095

Order with consequences



Photo credit: http://www.voice-online.co.uk/career-education-article/charity-voices-concern-over-governments-get-tough-approach-school-disciplin

In the podcast Is This Working? different teachers, educators, parents talk about discipline at school and ask very simple but important questions: what is the reasonable level of discipline? Why do we need kids to unpack their bookbags silently? Is all this discipline for a child or for a teacher? And the most important one: What are the consequences of the punishment for discipline violation?

The podcast starts with the question what teachers would do if a boy does not want to take his hat off during the class. And different approaches to discipline are discussed in its three acts with different storylines. Some stories argue that keeping discipline does not prepare children for a real life because staying quiet and obedient is not always a good way to achieve something in life. Other persuade that not punishment but conversations about the offenses work better as children learn to think about their emotions, emotions of others and collaborate in the society and this is exactly what they need in future. These are all wonderful questions, suggestions, ideas to check and prove by research. What I want to share is another phenomenon that I have found in this podcast which answers the question What are the consequences of the punishment for discipline violation?



I learned about the “discipline policies that push students out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system at alarming rates—a phenomenon known as the “school-to-prison pipeline“. Moreover, starting from early age black and Latino students are punished more harshly than their white peers and this excessive punishment makes it more likely for them to get in prison once they become adults.   There was a data from College Station at Texas A&M which documented all the suspensions in 2000-2002:

 “And they determined that African American and Hispanic students were twice as likely to receive an out-of-school suspension than their white peers for their first offense. When they looked at African American boys in Texas, 83% were suspended at least once. And usually, they were suspended a lot more than once. That includes anything a school calls suspension.

And what kind of infractions were they getting suspended for? Most of the time, these were not for big things, like hitting a teacher or bringing a weapon to school. They were for things like disrespect, insubordination, willful defiance, the kind of incident that often begins when an angry kid won’t take his hat off”

What do you think about this data? This is the result of the attitude they get at school. They are punished seriously even for minor mistakes. I immediately recalled the blog written by chsherbakov that I read recently about the intrinsic bias against Black schoolers which is seen even in the language of documents framing desegregation.

What I want to say is the issue of keeping discipline in the classroom can be controversial but there is another dimension of the problem which we should take into consideration. There is an attitude which starting from the very early age creates a special mindset, special environment and changes the future of many little kids. This attitude makes them feel bad and unwelcome in the society. This attitude puts them into the conflict with the school, with their parents, with the law. This makes them look for people who would value them no matter what and, unfortunately, very often these people are not the best examples to follow.