Cell phones in elementary school do not create the same issues that cell phones create in high schools. However, I would caution parents to research their school district’s cell phone policy before sending a cell phone to school. Some districts insist that parents sign a form before their child is allowed to bring a cell phone to school.
I like the safety benefits of having multiple communication options in the event of an emergency. My experience is that kids are very careful to keep cell phones in their backpacks so they don’t get lost.
With fifth graders, I had very few problems with cell phones. Most children used their cell phones only to communicate with parents after school. Communicating with other students via cell phone during class was not a big issue, but it did happen on occasion.
In third grade, cell phones seem to be mostly for helping working and single parents communicate with their child. I have allowed upset children to call their parents during recess or lunch — it helps! If a parent calls their child during school hours, I figure it must be very important.
Texting from a cell phone can be quite a different situation. It is very easy for children to text in class; even elementary school students text their friends. Parents might want to think twice about enabling this feature on a kid’s cell phone.