The NSW government will conduct Australia’s first review of smartphone use in schools that could see the devices banned.
Education Minister Rob Stokes this week asked child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg to conduct the review of phone use by children in kindergarten to Year 12. It follows concerns about safety and cyber-bullying, highlighted by the death of 14-year-old schoolgirl Dolly Everett.
Hey Rob… stop the expensive taxpayer funded review mate .. just ban the phones .. no student needs to play with their phone during school hours at school. The end.
— DR マイク🚴 🏃🏻♂️🥋🍌🏄🏼♂️ (@dr_mellis57) June 20, 2018
The review will consider restrictions on social media based on age, student online safety and bullying and whether “old-style” mobile phones without cameras or access to internet could offer an alternative.
Parents, teachers and students have weighed into the debate in recent times. Some, such as Dr Pasi Sahlberg, believe phones can cause physical damage to children, “distracting students from reading, school-related work, physical activity, and high-quality sleep”.
No point banning phones when they all have iPads and laptops anyway.
— 🍀 Ali (@Matchstick28) June 20, 2018
There has been a mixture of responses to this week’s announcement.
Laura Davidson, 18, of Baulkham Hills, believes it may have a positive outcome for her school work but could also have negative effects.
“In a way it will help teenagers focus more and not be distracted by social media, but also, some use their phones for music to keep focussed,” she said.
Konrad Haddadi, 18, of Kellyville, dosen’t think mobile phones should be banned in schools, as they have a more important use than just a distraction.
“Mobile phones are used as a communication device for children and parents,” he said.
“They should’nt be banned as the benefits phones have in emergency situations far outweigh the detriments that they have an school productivity.”
Ellie Hoogervorst, 16, of Baulkham Hills, thinks a total ban is unrealistic but overall could have a positive impact on her education.
“Its just unrealistic to think it will happen,” she said.
“I do think that if we got rid of phones at schools we would definitely get less distracted and could get more work done.”
Why should kids have phones at school? They should be locked away during school hours so they can concentrate on learning.
— Simon Templar (@vk3xem) June 20, 2018
It is the first time a review of this size has been conducted by a state or federal government in Australia. It comes a day after France introduced a bill to “detox” children from phones at school and the UK’s Culture Secretary Matt Hancock called for a nationwide ban.