In Victoria and many other states across Australia, the question regarding mobile phones has been raised recently. Should mobile phones be banned in schools?
I don’t say this from the perspective of a parent with children addicted to their phones. Or a grandparent still in denial about those ‘stupid electronic things.’ I say this from the perspective of a student, studying in a school which recently banned mobile phones, and acknowledging the positive effects which it has had on the school community.
Victorian Education Minister, James Merlino, has announced that mobile phones will be banned in all state primary and secondary schools, aiming to, “remove a major distraction from our classrooms” and “stop cyber-bullying”.
At the school I attend, this could not be more accurate. Instead of students spending their recess and lunchtimes glued to their screens in the corner of the playground, they are forced to communicate, play on the oval, create new games to play and support each other. No longer do students who don’t have a phone feel left out, or students without the latest online game feel secluded.
Moreover, although cyber-bullying can take place outside the schools’ grounds at home, the ban on mobile phones stops students taking photos or videos of other people without their permission. Additionally, cyber-bullying primarily occurs due to peer pressure and eliminating groups of students working together to bully people online, could significantly reduce cyber-bullying.
Criticism regarding this decision has focused upon the importance of understanding and utilising technology in the modern world and that the use of mobile phones should be encouraged and applied within the classroom. Yes, technology needs to play a role within schools, but mobile phone use is not the answer. Physical activity is crucial to the development of students and communication is a vital skill after school; however, both of these things are diminished due to the presence of mobile phones within schools.
Technology such as robotics classes, education of software and program design, the use of large devices in classrooms such as laptops and tablets are all positive ways to implement technology within schools without the harmful distraction to students and the harm of cyber-bullying.
Therefore, mobile phones should be banned in schools.