Ban Cell Phones at School?

When mall managers banned cell phones from its public washrooms expressing concern that those ones with built-in videocams might start clicking away furtively, infringing on people’s privacy, the handwriting was on the wall. Something sinister was bound to happen. The doomsayers’ predictions were looking good and became prophecy fulfilled the day YouTube was launched. How about downloading a video shot on YouTube for thousands, if not millions of people to watch? What could be a better expression of freedom than this? The cell phone with its array of add-ons – camera, web access, MP3 player , text, email – as innocuous as it looks is no longer a kid’s toy. Students have learned to use it creatively – not only to cheat in exams but to even the score with their teachers as in the case of two grade 9 students in Quebec. One student provoked the teacher to a fit of anger while the other secretly videotaped the outburst with her cell camera and posted the clip on YouTube. Thousands of people commented on the clip, including parents of students from the school. The teacher was utterly embarrassed by her show of uncontrolled rage. Devastated by the embarrassment, she filed for stress leave.

Another publicized case was about a student at Ryerson University who stood up in the middle of the class, accusing his teacher for not teaching some of the topics included in the exam while a fellow student was videotaping the heated exchange. The students downloaded the clip on YouTube eliciting comments from many students from the school. The school management intervened and all the students in the class received a 5 point mark bump and the teacher was relieved and paired with another lecturer during lab hours. Holy crow. What a way to deliver a knockout punch to a teacher you hate. But is it fair game? I think not. Teachers are at a huge disadvantage with the threat of cell cameras recording their every move. I say ban the cameras from the school and preserve some sense of order and respect. What do you think?

DATELINE : Calgary

I was back in Calgary last week trying to finish my project and boy did I come at the worst time but the date was carved in stone and I had no chance to reschedule. Other than the miserable -25 C deg temperature which among all things discouraged me from taking pictures fearful that my new camera would freeze to death, my project was completed. Our new and expanded trading floor system was up and running by the weekend paving way for hiring new traders for our energy trading division. This kind of extreme cold occurs in Ontario in Jan or Feb albeit rarely. It was the first time I’ve encountered -25 deg weather in Nov, thanks to the crazy Alberta rocky mountain weather that shifts from hot to cold without much warning. I flew back Sunday early morning and on my way to the airport the temp was -29 deg C with a wind chill factor of – 5 deg which felt like – 34 deg I was telling myself – shit , if this taxi breaks down in the middle of the road, I would be toast…err.. iced. I was meeting a friend for breakfast at the airport that morning and I was having his cell number handy just in case an SOS call is needed and he can rescue me with his SUV..LOL.. I was so busy and didn’t have the time to meet up with him in the city that I had to ask him to wake up early for breakfast at the airport.. He’s a real sport and a good buddy. I couldn’t possibly buy him donuts and coffee for the aggravation so I took him to a real restaurant which was fortunately open at 7am , for some heavy cowboy breakfast. I was thrilled to hear of his experience, how he joined the exodus of job hunters from Ontario seeking greener pastures in Alberta. He has gotten an excellent job and plans to move his family to join him soon. The province is debt free and riding high on the oil boom and desperately needs skilled and unskilled workers. I will not be surprised if the federal government grants Alberta authority to hire contract workers directly from outside the country. I hear businesses closing down because they couldn’t replace people that left. Sounds quite ridiculous but true.

When I arrived home after a 3.5 hr flight I found out that we had to go to a birthday party at 630pm. I was back to EST from MST time with a +2 hour difference. After all the food I ate in Calgary, with the lunches and dinners with our contractors, I had to deal with a whole slew of Pinoy dishes. The next week will be a detoxification week for me I thought. But I was back home, in a 12 deg weather and it felt really good and for a moment, it was all that mattered.


28 Responses

  1. Cellphone

    Now, that’s what I call abuse on the use of technology. That’s unfair.

    I’ve read that YouTube-Verizon partnership. People have to pay $15 (pounds,I’m not sure I read it this morning at BBC) if they want to upload YouTube clips.


    hahaha…detoxification huh? That’s what my friends say about weather in Canada. Well, that’s good news for Alberta huh?

    Welcome back.

  2. True, it smacks of abuse of technology and YouTube better regulate the use of their space to prevent irresponsible posts.

    Yep, I felt like I poisoned myself with food.. LOL..I also ate lots of game meat – bison, venison, elk pepperoni 🙂 Alberta is cow country so they have a huge beef industry there too. Good for Albertans but I’m staying put where I am. This is the 4th country I’m living in and if I ever move, it would be in a warmer place 🙂

  3. lol. With those meat, you really need to detox.

    Your fourth? Another nomad or a former nomad? 🙂

  4. Regarding cellphones, I also think that’s not fair. I already hear a lot of disrespect for teachers and now this. It’s just not right.

    Re: Calgary. It looks like they have colder weather over there. Minus 25 is just normal winter temperature for us. It just takes getting used to it. I’ve heard about the influx of workers in Alberta and that they are having housing problems, I mean there’s already lack of housing. That’s too bad.

  5. They normally serve game meat fruity sauces which I find quite flavorful. We don’t know what these animals ate ! My fourth including RP. Former nomad.

  6. Niceheart – I support the cellphone ban at schools anytime.

    The by-product of economic boom is expensive housing but its something people will compromise to get ahead with their careers. YOu are right. It can be an illusion too where you make more and spend more and net net you don’t really gain much 🙂

  7. This only proves that technology and immaturity are a deadly combination. I say BAN the phones from school. Like what Singapore did.

  8. I don’t think we could stop the inevitability of the reliance of kids/teens to their cellphones. And banning the whole thing in school would, I presume cause more trouble than good. There could be possibly be a policy of turning off all cellphones in classrooms. But I thin it would be impossible to ban them totally.

    I miss the good old days of phones with rotating dials and snail mail. They were so uncomplicated. hehe.. Then again, I can’t imagine life now without a cellphone or internet access.

  9. they’re so mean. i know someone who uses his cellphone to cheat in exams. and even texting his gf to ask for answers ha.

    if that is happeneing there, i think it should be banned. we survived school before without the cellphones. i’m sure they also will.

    pinoy party? that means! madaming food! hahahah

  10. Sngl – technology if used by immature folks can not only ruin others but themselves too. It’s hard to draw the borderline with immaturity though. I sometimes cross that line 🙂

  11. Alternati – banning cell phones in school to avoid these incidents can be a hard sell in some places. If it will be used for emergency calling – say a student has some illness or for coordination with family – it can be a curtailment of the person’s freedoms. while we think – yes ban it, oppositionists are already planning their counter with their interpretation of the law.

  12. Tin – we all had fun even without the cell phones yes. If we had the cell phone during my school days , I could have bonded more with girls 🙂 Yep, it was a party we couldn’t refuse so I had to tag along. The bad thing was the food was great!

  13. ano kaya i video ko yung boss ko kapag galit sya using my celfone? kapag nagalit yun nagmumura, tapos post ko sa you tube. hehe. kidding!

  14. I totally agree with you about banning phones in schools… or at least during classes to avoid distractions, cheating, etc.. Or maybe I’m just jealous because my phone is so old it doesn’t even have a camera. 🙂

    -25 degrees????!!!! I would die! I would even die with your “warm” 12 degrees. 🙂

  15. Iskoo – so you have gotten the idea ! Ano kayang sasabihin nya pag nakita niya sa YouTube ang sarili nyang nagmumura..LOL..

  16. Toe – same here, my Blackberry is issued by my office so I can’t possibly ask for a camera 🙂 Know what, cell camera is not that bad because one guy I know naatrasan yung kotse nya he had a video taken for the insurance claim para walang duda and it worked.

    +12 deg you’d freeze? LOL.. I’d be a grinning dog playing golf at that temp!

  17. Maybe I should try this trick with my boss! 😉

    -25 C. Can human beings survive in such temperatures?

  18. Sidney – we had 17 deg yesterday ! I guess is a matter of getting used to the cold. Where I live the winter isn’t that harsh. Cars being sold here don’t have block heaters, if that’s a measure of how cold the place is!

  19. I heard from my niece that cell phones already ban in California Public Schools. I think it should be, even it’s use maybe only for emergency.

    Is that sudden weather change in Alberta called Chinook or some term to it. Yes, Alta. is booming. Good for my cousins who were there long time ago and are now followed by the younger relatives.

  20. I’n not surprised if cell phones are banned in Calif but you know how liberal our legislators are.

    Good for your relatives who moved long time back. Their real estate property should be double in price by now and bad for those who are just arriving since they will have to deal with the high cost of real estate.

    The Chinook weather is crazy indeed. The place goes to +10 deg in Jan, the coldest without month without any warning 🙂

  21. Hmmm… what a nice idea to black mail somebody. Hehe.

    Pero seriously, at some cases medyo di rin maganda yun, baka they only see part of the picture and not whay a person is proveked to anger

  22. Ferdz – yep, it’s a very easy way to blackmail anybody ! Unfortunately, a video clip cannot explain the real reason why the person had gone nuts 🙂

  23. Poor teachers. I agree it’s high time to ban cell phones at least in the classrooms. They can leave their gadgets in their lockers for all they want. This is to avoid incident like this from ever happening again.

    On the -25 deg temp., I think I’m gonna die in that place. I easily get sick in cold weathers.

  24. Abaniko – winter can be very depressing to some people. To Pinoys who are ultra-conscious of their complexion, winter does make the skin smoother and the facial complexion a little reddish, hence brighter:) The joke around here is it gets rid of the “galis” of people. Now that can be ONE reason for some to come here.. LOL. For me, the advantage of winter is I don’t have to mow my entire lawn, front yard and back yard, every weekend, which takes more than an hour 🙂

  25. I tell you, those guys who created You Tube surely knew how to create an opportunity with the advent of picture and video features of a cellphone. Reminds us to always remain cognizant of being videotaped without our knowing about it.

    Minus 25-degree weather? I tip off my hat for Philippine-born folks who brave those kind of weather in North America anf Canada. When I go back to the States, it’ll be southern Cali for me.

    Keep warm.

  26. Senor – you bet I’ve been keeping warm 🙂 We’re not really that bad, a few deg lower than NYC in fact. Hey, Southern Cali isn’t bad. Just watch out for the quake 🙂 I’m working for a multinational and thinking of a lateral transfer to Florida but with Katrina’s havoc, I backed off 🙂 I love this city though and been here for more than 10 years and it’s been very kind to me. If there’s no winter here, I wouldn’t have second thoughts of going anywhere 🙂 Or maybe I just have that seaman syndrome.. LOL..

    On another issue : re Blogger. I moved to beta and it’s been nothing but nightmare so far. I can’t evenpost on other blogger blogs expect mine! Dang.

  27. if we will just use the phonecam responsibly it is actually very useful not only to the students but also to all. same way with youtube. maybe we just need to be a good steward of the latest gadgets and technologies 🙂

  28. Cruise – very true, no doubt cellcams are a great tool but why problems of this nature come about is precisely what you have mentioned – the inability of some people to be good stewards of the technology! In my opinion, video clips on YouTube ought to be regulated and reviewed to prevent this kind of disaster happening again. This partially solves the problem. We can’t do much with those folks who publish clips on their private websites.

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