The United Nations estimates that there are currently as many as 4.1 billion active mobile phone subscriptions. Modern mobile phones can perform a wide variety of functions, such as taking and sending photographs and video, playing music and games, and surfing the internet and accessing social networks. Their main use, however, remains for voice calls and for texting short messages. As prices of both phones and calls have come down in the past ten years or so with increased competition, they have become much more affordable for young people. This has raised questions about whether children should own phones, and if they should be allowed to take them into school. Schools in different countries, and within countries, take very different views on this issue. In many European schools, especially in Scandinavia, mobile phone technologies are actively used in education and to communication with students. Other schools allow them to be carried, but say they must never be turned on in school hours. Some (for example, New York schools) ban them entirely. Proponents of children being given mobile phones argue that they keep them safe, within reach of their parents at all times and are essential for maintaining friendships and social cohesion, whilst opponents maintain that they are susceptible to abuse and do not have the best interests of the child at heart.
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