Maximizing Student Time in School

By Partnering with HMS on Student Cell Phone Use

Limiting Student Cell Phone Distractions During the School Day

Forsyth County Schools is currently a BYOT district. Hendricks Middle School believes that this offers great opportunities for our students to reach outside the limits of the school walls to explore and create content. It empowers students to go beyond the textbook to collaborate, communicate, think critically and be creative.

As with all great things, negative side effects are possible. Students today face more distractions than ever before. Between social media and digital interactions, the challenge to stay focused can be quite difficult. Unfortunately, this spills over into the academic day interrupting quality instructional time, and likely increasing anxiety among our teens. Our staff would like to partner with families to ensure the highest quality education for our students. To do this, we must find a healthy balance in helping our teens use their mobile device.

As parents, there are things we can do to limit our teen's time on their phones, specifically in the academic setting.

FCS has a secure, filtered BYOT network that limits access to social media as well as many other inappropriate sites. We ask you to encourage sole use of our filtered BYOT network from 9am - 4:15pm by disallowing data usage completely. Currently, this filter blocks the following popular apps and many others:

  • Instagram

  • Facebook

  • Snapchat

  • Netflix

  • Hulu

  • HBO

  • Xfinity

The BYOT filter still allows users to send and receive phone calls as well as text messages.

As usual, students will receive lessons in digital citizenship as well as sign the policy on responsible use of their technology. In addition, our policy is consistent with FCS and states "All Cellphones should be powered off and out of sight". This should limit distractions in the classroom.

Students at Hendricks Middle School have access to chromebooks in the classroom. Because of this, cell phones are not necessary for instruction. If a student decides to bring their cell phone, it is to be used for instructional purposes only using our filtered BYOT network and only at the teacher's discretion. Social Media usage is strictly prohibited during the day along with videoing of other students or staff unless a teacher has requested it as part of a learning experience. We are committed to making sure students remain undistracted during the day. Failure to abide by the HMS BYOT policy could result in the following:

1st offense- Warning

2nd offense- MIR (Minor Infraction Report) through PBIS

3rd offense- 1 week phone prohibited from campus

4th offense - Administrative Referral - loss of phone for semester or school year

Parent Control Apps

Phone Carrier Provided Parent Controls


AT&T Secure Family

AT&T lets you block cellular data on your teens’ phone and will send you a text alert when the line has used a specified amount of data. The app doesn’t automatically cut off the line’s data, though, so it’s up to you to shut off their data if they use their share. You can also set time restrictions with Smart Limits, so Junior isn’t distracted by YouTube videos during math class. This feature can also block texts and outbound calls during a designated time. Smart Limits is available on iPhones and Android devices, as well as via a laptop or desktop.

Cost: $4.99 per month for one device, $9.99 per month for up to 10 devices.


Depending on the device brand and account type, T-Mobile offers several features and apps designed to help you manage your family’s device use. There are also apps and services offered by third parties that may be useful in helping you manage your family’s online activities. See the T-Mobile family controls site below.



Verizon Smart Family is a service that offers location services and parental controls for all of your family members' phones. Refer to the Verizon Smart Family FAQs for more information about this service.

You can manage Verizon Smart Family through My Verizon’s website or the Verizon Smart Family app.