Stopping cell phone use in school

Posted April 10, 2014 1:37 pm

398559-5972-59 Researchers have found that, unsurprisingly, students who admit to regularly using cell phones in class get a poorer grade score, on average, than students who don’t use phones. But these students are not only hurting themselves. Another study has found that students are distracted when other students text du ring lessons. Teachers likewise find it disconcerting when they notice a student more absorbed in his or her cell phone than the lesson materials. And, of course, any time taken to address these issues is time taken away from teaching.

Cell phones can also be used to cheat in exams. Some students attempt to text an accomplice to get information they need to answer a question, or even sneak a quick phone call if they are allowed a bathroom break. Another approach is to use the phone to photograph textbook pages or notes that can be used as reference material during a test.

This is not to say that cell phone use can’t be incorporated into lessons when appropriate. Students may be encouraged to use cell phones to look up information on the Web to aid in classroom discussion, for example. Outside of these explicit uses, however, cell phone use is a distraction at best, and an aid to cheating at worst.

Policies and sanctions

To address the issue, the teacher or the school should have a written policy on the use of cell phones and other electronic devices. Every student should be required to read the policy and to abide by it. The policy should clearly state what is prohibited and what the sanctions are for breaking the rules.

Teachers take a wide variety of measures to deal with cell phone use. One approach is the “one-and-done” policy: any student who pulls out a cell phone in class is immediately required to leave. Other teachers have a policy that since every interruption takes time away from the education the class is supposed to be receiving, a certain amount of time – maybe two minutes, for example –  will be added onto the end of the lesson for each cell phone-related interruption.

Despite these kinds of sanctions, 65 percent of students admit to bringing phones into classrooms even when they are prohibited. They smuggle them in using a variety of creative methods, hiding them in their underwear, socks, or lunches, for example. Fifty-eight percent of these students also admit that they have texted during class.

Detection and enforcement

Some schools in New York deploy metal detectors as a safety precaution. Originally intended to prevent students from bringing weapons into the classroom, the rules now also prohibit cell phones.  For the majority of schools that don’t have metal detectors, a cell phone detector is a good alternative, particularly in situations such as exams, when a cell phone could be used to cheat.

A cell phone detector can be set up in an exam room to monitor for the tell-tale transmissions of a cell phone, even in standby mode. It can then issue an alert and staff can take appropriate action to prevent a student from using a phone to cheat on the exam. Of course, once a school has a cell phone detector, it is simple enough to use it to monitor for cell phone use in classrooms also.  Such devices can quickly and effectively reduce the covert use of cell phones and help teachers and students get on with the business of education.

Why and How to Detect Cell Phone Signals

Posted January 30, 2014 2:37 am

Cell phones are a wonderful tool for workplace productivity and for social interaction. However, in the wrong hands and in the wrong place, they can also be a menace. There are now reported to be something like 1.4 billion smart phones in the world. They are relatively inexpensive, so price is much less of a barrier to ownership than it used to be. They are increasingly powerful and sophisticated and, in the United States, there are more smartphones than “dumbphones” (phones without touch screens, wireless internet capability or an operating system to run applications). In other words, it is quite likely that most employees on and visitors to any business premises will be carrying a smartphone. And if you are responsible for the security and safety of those premises, it is important to understand the threat smartphones can pose and how to detect cell phone signals in order to guard against unauthorized use.

The Smartphone Threat

There are many situations in which a cell phone can raise security concerns. For example, participants in a meeting may discuss proprietary or sensitive matters that should be limited to the people in the room. An unauthorized cell phone could be used to record the discussion, broadcast it in real time to a remote listener, or to take photographs or video of slides with sensitive information. Likewise, owners of research labs or facilities that house proprietary manufacturing techniques need to guard against unauthorized recording and distribution of information from these sensitive areas.

Here are just some of the ways in which unauthorized use of a smartphone could threaten your business

  • Eavesdropping – a cell phone user in a meeting could use the phone to relay audio from the meeting to an unauthorized listener at an outside location. That listener could also record the conversation.
  • External prompting – a person who is supposed to be isolated from the outside world could use a phone to obtain information from the outside. To minimize the possibility of detection, this could be done either via text or through a discreet Bluetooth earpiece. This could compromise the integrity of an examination or a test of a prospective employee’s knowledge or capabilities prior to a hiring decision.
  • Audio recording – most smartphones can record audio, either as a standard feature or with the aid of a third-party app.
  • Still or video camera recording – there are many situations where photography or videography can be problematic. Someone might photograph sensitive design documents, for example, or video a proprietary manufacturing process or a presentation that includes confidential material that is supposed not to leave the room.
  • Data transfer – a phone can be hooked up to a computer, bypassing any firewall or other protections put in place by computer security personnel. The phone could then be used to copy data and take it out of the building, or could introduce malware that could allow external access to sensitive systems, for example.

Mitigating the Threat

Given this litany of possible risks, it is clearly vital for those in charge of security to know how to detect cell phone signals. It is not enough to hope employees and visitors will voluntarily turn off their phones or not take them into a restricted area. Rather, it is important to monitor for cell phone transmissions using security hardware designed specifically for the task.

Some factors to consider when selecting a cell phone detector are

  • Ability to detect a full range of cell phone signals: the detector should work with all cell phone protocols (such as 3G, 4G, CDMA, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi etc.) and all kinds of cell phone signals, including standby mode, as well as phone calls, text and data transmissions.
  • Wide range of alert types, including immediate audio and visual alerts, alerts relayed to a remote monitoring location, and silent logging.
  • Adjustable detection range, with the ability to limit monitoring to a small room, or extend to a larger area, as required.
  • Ease of deployment and ease of use: a detector that confuses its operators will not be used effectively and will be worse than useless, giving a false sense of security.
  • Minimal false positives: a detector that is well designed for the specific purpose of detecting cell phone signals will provide the best possible detection accuracy, giving virtually no false alarms.

It is more likely than not that anyone on your business premises will have a smartphone, and the numbers and sophistication of devices are increasing rapidly. It is therefore increasingly important to be aware of the threats these devices can pose to your security and safety, and to know how to detect cell phone signals in order to counter the risks they can pose.

Join Cellbusters at the ACA winter conference

Posted January 28, 2014 1:44 pm

Cellbusters are exhibiting at the ACA Winter Conference 2014 – January 31 – February 5

Tampa Convention Center, Tampa Florida – Join us at booth 718

Join Cellbusters at the 2014 ACA Conference

Tampa, Florida
Jan 31st – Feb 5th

Booth: 718

Cellbusters Eliminates Contraband Cell Phones from Marion County Detention Centre

MCDC enhances safety by achieving situational awareness of all cellular activity after deploying Cellbusters Correctional Suite of products.


“With the Cellbusters solution, I now have complete control over all cellular activity at the prison, which greatly enhances our security,” said Mark Whitehouse, Captain of Security at MCDC. “Within seconds, I can tell if someone at the prison has a phone turned on and can overlace it with our video surveillance system to catch inmates and staff”

Join Cellbusters at booth 718 for an overview and demonstration of our proven cell phone detection and locating technology.


Cellbusters Eliminates Contraband Cell Phones from Marion County Detention Center

Posted January 24, 2014 10:32 am

Correctional facility enhances safety by achieving situational awareness of all cellular activity after deploying Cellbusters Correctional Suite of products

PHOENIX, Jan. 23, 2014- Cellbusters, a market-leading developer of cell phone and radio frequency (RF) emission detection locating technology, today announced that Marion County Detention Center (MCDC) in Lebanon, KY, has chosen the company’s Zone Protector™ and Zone Manager™ products to eliminate contraband cell phones from the Marion County facility.

Contraband Phone Detector MCMC

Cellbusters patented technology Zone Protector and Zone Manager make up a hardware/software solution that helps correctional facilities eliminate security threats arising from illicit cell phone use. Capable of detecting cellular activity including short text messages and cell phone registration pulses, the Zone Protector is an easy-to-deploy passive frequency detection device that continuously monitors cell phone activity within defined areas of a correctional facility.

Once cell phone activity is detected by Zone Protectors distributed around the facility, it is logged by Zone Manager, a centralized software tool that collects alert information in real-time. Through its map interface, the location of the contraband cell phone is immediately exposed. Based on customer preference, alerts can be sent instantly or silently logged.

Used together, Zone Protector and Zone Manager enable security personnel to execute efficient, well-targeted, productive searches and seizures of contraband cell phones with the goal to detect, locate and confiscate.



MCDC deployed a number of Cellbusters Zone Protectors, along with Zone Manager that delivers real-time protection to secure and protect their facilities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. MCDC choose to employ a Zone Manager that resides in the cloud because it reduced the overhead costs and management overhead by allowing Cellbusters to manage and monitor the software, as well as provide the necessary infrastructure and resources for MCDC to run this solution. In conjunction with a recent phone system upgrade at MCDC, the Cellbusters solution was easy to deploy and covertly installed. Inmates and staff soon became aware that their cellular activity was being detected.

While it is difficult to determine the extent of contraband cell phones in the facility before the installation, MCDC was anecdotally aware of inmates conducting crimes on the outside while they were behind bars. The solution has helped MCDC to have complete situational awareness of all cellular activity in the facility and has eliminated contraband cell phones.

“With the Cellbusters solution, I now have complete control over all cellular activity at the prison, which greatly enhances our security,” said Mark Whitehouse, Captain of Security at MCDC. “Within seconds, I can tell if someone at the prison has a phone turned on and can overlace it with our video surveillance system to catch inmates and staff. Besides myself, the jailer and the head nurse, no one is allowed to carry cell phones and Cellbusters helps ensure this.”

With the deployment of Zone Protectors and Zone Manager, Whitehouse knows for certain that contraband cell phones are no longer an issue at MCDC and plans to make sure it stays that way.

“People in the jail business want to find technology and tools that help with security,” said Whitehouse. “Cellbusters gives us just that—a tool that actually works and makes my security job much easier.”

“We are pleased to provide MCDC a technology solution that is cost-effective, has easy-to-use reporting capabilities and is scalable,” said Derek Forde, US Representative at Cellbusters. “It is clear from these statistics and graphs that the rate of contraband or illicit cell phone use drops dramatically irrespective of the customers application. The labor-intensive blind searches previously done at MCDC were disruptive and unreliable, with no guarantee of finding cell phones. The ROI happens quickly due to the reduction of man hours spent searching for phones.”

The Cellbusters solution enhances security in prisons and other correctional facilities by helping staff to detect and eradicate contraband cell phones. Find more about the solution online at

About Marion County Detention Center MCDC is a 300-bed full-service jail in Lebanon, KY that houses local, state, federal and military inmates. Their duty is to house incarcerated offenders in a manner that protects the public and institutional safety while providing a legal standard of care, as well as to provide programs intended to reduce the likelihood of re-incarceration.

About Cellbusters For more than a decade, Cellbusters has been focused on a single mission: to help customers guard against the security risks posed by cellular devices. The company’s state-of-the-art solutions help protect government, industry, and the military around the world and virtually anywhere cell phone use is restricted or prohibited.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Cellbusters is a privately owned company with an office in Ireland to handle European distribution. One of the first companies to address the need to detect, monitor, control and locate the unauthorized used of cell phones, Cellbusters provides leading detection solutions to its US clients, and other customers worldwide.

TM “Zone Protector” and “Zone Manager” are trademarks of Cellbusters.

Software Defined Cell Phone Detector

Posted December 19, 2013 7:55 pm

Future proof your investment with the Zone Protector™ from Cellbusters

Important considerations when selecting a cell phone detector

When choosing a cell phone detector (or any other technology for that matter) you will no doubt want to future proof your investment and ensure it does not become obsolete a few months later.

The majority of cell phone detectors on the market today are totally restricted by their “fixed” hardware design. In other words they are designed and manufactured to detect certain frequency ranges at a fixed point in time, and cannot be changed or updated should new cellular frequency ranges emerge in the future.

Cell Phone Detector

The Zone Protector™ however, is a true Software Defined Detector™ and no such restrictions apply. This revolutionary design enables you to easily add, remove or modify frequency ranges and settings via the intuitive web interface as required anytime in the future.

Advantage of Cellbusters unique Software Defined Detector™

Hardware controlled cell phone detectors are designed to detect fixed frequency ranges once they leave the factory.
As new cellular frequencies and protocols emerge such devices will no longer be capable of detection given their fixed design.

However, the Zone Protector™ is a true Software Defined Detector™, meaning it takes just seconds to add the new protocols or frequencies such as 5G, WiFi etc via the web interface or firmware update

Furthermore you can also add any frequency in the detection range that you need to detect (so its not just restricted to cell phone frequencies).

The Zone Protector™ gives you full flexibility and control resulting in a robust, agile and future proof solution.

Page 1 of 212
amt logo

Zone Protector™ and Zone Manager™ deliver real time protection with actionable intelligence. Active Monitoring Technology enables our customers to secure and protect their facilities, assets, and information worldwide.

Next Steps

create quote