For Educators

Ethical Issues Around Cell Phone Use – Background


Whether we’re on the road, in a restaurant, or roaming the halls of a high school, it is inevitable that we will find a handful of people talking away on their cell phones, tapping out text messages, or even using their phone to take photos or video. Some cell phone users are very discreet, while others feel comfortable sharing the details of their conversation with everyone around them. While cell phones are very convenient, they can also be rather obnoxious. In fact, many people argue that cell phone usage can be a blatant violation of privacy.

In this lesson, students will consider the ways they use cell phones at school, in public, and in their private life, and they will complete activities that allow them to discover how cell phone usage affects those around them. Students will identify the general feelings of their peers regarding cell phones at school and in public. They will consider whether digital photo and video features of cell phones compromise the privacy of others, and they will discuss the possibility of banning or restricting cell phones from at school.

Grade Level:

Grades 9-12

Time Allotment:

4-5 45-minute class periods

Subject Matter:

Behavioral Studies, Ethics, Language Arts, Privacy Issues, Sociology, Technology

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Determine appropriate and inappropriate use of cell phones in school and in other public venues.
  • Discuss how the features of cell phones might be used in invasive and unethical manners.
  • Examine the ways cell phones might violate the privacy of others.
  • Consider the etiquette that should be exercised by all cell phone users.
  • Consider the benefits of multi-featured cell phones.


This lesson was prepared by: Erin Audia