News & Opinion | September 3, 2019 1:38 pm

Kids Are Texting During Class, and Parents May Be the Problem

It turns out parents may be the ones kids are texting the most during class

Teens texting
Texting is a problem in classrooms, but parents may be the ones causing the distraction
Hero Images/Getty

It’s no secret that kids are texting during class, no matter how well they may think they’re hiding the glow of an iMessage screen under their desks. However, while common Gen Z stereotypes may tend to suggest phone addicted teens are wasting valuable class time texting each other, it might actually be a parent on the other side of those distracting midday conversations.

According to The Wall Street Journal, parents may be a bigger part of the problem than they realize when it comes to teens texting during the school day. Students, teachers and administrators alike said parents are often the ones lighting up kids’ phones with texts during class, and many students feel obligated to reply to those parental pings as quickly as possible.

High schools around the country have implemented measures in recent years to cut back on student phone use during class, often collecting or locking up students’ devices during the school day. Even with student phones in their care, however, teachers and administrators found that many kids were still receiving texts throughout the day — from parents. 

“We didn’t realize how often parents texted their students until they came to a meeting last spring and voiced their concerns,” Adam Gelb, the assistant principle at San Mateo High School in the San Francisco Bay Area, told WSJ.

While this onslaught of parental texting may seem like a symptom of “helicopter parenting,” some of these parents may actually be texting with unfortunately viable concerns reaching their children in the event of a school shooting.

According to Principal Jarrett Gold of La Cañada High School in Southern California, however, phones can actually do more harm than good in such an emergency, when it is important that students remain focused on receiving safety instructions from teachers and authorities. In order to minimize phone distractions during class while still allowing parents to contact their children, some schools have increased the phone availability of office staff members. “I’ve told the office staff to treat every call like it is an emergency because in the eyes of a parent, it might be,” one principle told WSJ.

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