Mobile phones at school August 29, 2019

Mobile phones at school

A hot topic in the media is the banning of mobile phones in schools around different states within Australia. The Edentify team wanted to gather the thoughts of our knowledgeable and diverse Caféstudy community in order to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to impose such a ban and who should be given the power to make that decision.

Australia is one of the world leaders in terms of smartphone ownership, with 9 out of every 10 people aged between 18-75 owning a smartphone. It comes as no surprise that mobile phones have become a part of everyday life for children and have transformed the way they communicate, socialise and learn. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 818,500 (1 in every 3) children aged 5 to 14 years have a mobile phone.

Mobile phones can be powerful tools when used in the right manner, whether it be for educational uses with applications such as "Reading Eggs" or "Socrative Student", or for contacting parents/guardians in emergency situations.

"Phones can actually be educational tools to help kids learn by using educational apps."

"Parents want their children to have a mobile phone so the kids can contact their parents to let them know when they're leaving school, or if they run into trouble on the way home."

Unfortunately, the misuse of mobile phone technology in school can be detrimental to student socialisation, productivity and classroom engagement. Issues such as cyberbullying are a main driver behind the banning of mobile phones and parents are also noticing adverse effects in academic development.

"Cyberbullying can be harder to detect than other forms of bullying, making it difficult for teachers to identify and stop when it is happening. Phones can be used by students to access information while taking a test."

"It is affecting their imagination creativity and humanity, they become robots, I want to see kids communicate with each other face to face learn some human skills empathy and real friendships."

Obviously, there are several factors to consider when implementing a mobile phone ban. Primary and secondary aged students require phones for different reasons which means we should address each age group ban differently and whether we should ban them from school completely or allow access during break periods are all key factors. Then there is the question of who should impose the ban - the school, parents or the government.

"My daughter's school banned them being on two years ago....and staff have noticed better socialising at breaks and focus during class also noticeably increased."

"Parents should definitely have some input, but teachers and principals are the ones trying to manage the children during class time so their input should probably carry somewhat more weight."

Advancements in technology are inevitable. If phones are banned, how will students learn how to responsibly use them when reaching adulthood? It is up to us in marketing as to how we foster these changes and allow our students to gain the most out of these advancements both inside and outside the classroom. We are in a great position to use our voice to influence the next generation, who will be the future leaders of our country. Students need to be made aware of how to use their phone responsibly, by monitoring how much time they're spending on their phones and what they're using their phones for. We need to ensure they've received substantial education on cyberbullying and the impacts it has on others. Imposing a ban won't stop secondary students from smuggling their phones into the classroom.

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