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Mobile phone usage will be restricted in schools

Saturday, 15th December, 2018

By Callum Marshall

The President of the Barrier Teachers Association, Maureen Clark, has welcomed the state government’s move to ban mobile phones in public primary schools during school hours.

High schools will also have the choice to join the ban or introduce measures to more tightly restrict the use of devices.

Mrs Clark said the legislation was much needed.

“It’s a shame that the government has to step in and do this,” she said.

“Schools have done a very good job in having phones-in-classrooms policies and they’ve tried to give the kids a fair go but it just hasn’t worked.

“It’s been very frustrating for teachers trying to conduct lessons and being continually interrupted all the time. Having to stop, having to speak to the policy and then having to try to enforce it.

“Defiant students have been encountered and it’s made it all too hard. It’s cut down the lesson times for students and then teachers have to do this sort of thing.”

Mrs Clark said there was much research into the damage mobile phone use can do in schools. 

“Studies have found that student stress is more likely to be caused by mobile phone use and a fear of ‘missing out’ than homework,” she said.

“University research in the United States into the economics of education found that banning phones in schools equated to an extra hour a week in school, or an extra five hours added to the school year, which is significant when considering learning time. 

“Research in England found that banning student use of mobile phones in schools increased student test scores by 6.4 per cent, with the greatest gains being made amongst the lower performing students.

“So it’s not surprising to me that countries overseas like France have already implemented the bans. 

“Many private schools in Australia have already bans in place and public schools in Deniliquin and Sydney’s inner west have banned student use of mobile phones. 

“They are finding that kids now are actually talking to each other.”

The state government move was brought about after an expert review that found mobile phones caused more online bullying, inappropriate sharing of explicit images, predatory behaviour from strangers and distraction for students.

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