Cell phones may be part of the American teenage culture, but they aren't allowed in the places where students spend eight hours a day -- the classroom.
Some argue that they should be.
According to the Pew Research Center, in 2010 an estimated 75 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 17 now own cell phones, up from 45 percent in 2004.
The popularity of cell phones and teens' use of them has created one of the biggest headaches for school systems everywhere.
As the uses and functions of cell phones expand, administrators and educators are grappling with how to use cell phones as an educational tool and teach children how to use them responsibly instead of banning them altogether.
Also, with some phones that allow students to access the Internet, it's possible to look up the answer to a question online while taking a test.
Because of the potential for cheating, national testing organizations for tests like the SAT, ACT and Advanced Placement tests, will not allow students to take cell phones to the testing facility and will invalidate students' scores if they are found with cell phones during the test.
Mason Gary, a high school principal in Williamston, S.C., said cell phones are the number one discipline issue.
"In years past, they have been pretty much a problem," he said. "With all the social media networking, the texting ... they're a problem. It's not so much the phone calls. It's the rest of the uses of the phone."
Research shows that parental involvement in a child's cell phone use affects the way the phones are used.
According to the Pew Research Center, 62 percent of parents have taken away their children's phones as punishment and 52 percent of parents limit the amount of time their children can be on their phones each day. Research indicated that among children whose parents limit their text messaging, teens are less likely to report regretting texts they sent, or to report sending sexually suggestive images by text.
And teens whose parents limit their texting are also less likely to report being in cars when the drivers texted while driving.
Nationwide, an estimated 65 percent of teens in schools that completely ban phones still take their phones to school every day, according to the Pew Research Center. Of those same teens, 58 percent have sent text messages during class and 25 percent have made or received calls during class time.
(Contact Liz Carey of the Anderson Independent-Mail in Anderson, S.C., at www.independentmail.com/staff/liz-carey/