There has been a dramatic decrease in behavioural issues, and a boost in physical activity among students at a Sydney high school after mobile phones were banned.
Each day students in years 7 to 10 at Davidson High School put their phone in a pouch that, once closed, cannot be opened without breaking the lock.
"Classrooms have effectively become phone free and this has allowed staff to focus on educating students," principal David Rule said in a school newsletter. "In eight weeks of the policy there has been a 90 per cent reduction in behavioural issues related to phones in the school."
The ban has also led to students communicating with each other more often and more physically activity during recess and lunch.
"Students are being more active in their breaks, with plenty of handball and basketball taking place," he said.
"In the library I am witnessing card games, board games and also groups of students sitting in circles talking to each other."
Students have been banned from using their mobile phone at Scotch Oakburn College for the past three years.
Principal of this independent school in Tasmania, Andy Muller, said prior to the ban students were distracted during class, and not interacting or communicating with their peers during recess and lunch.
The anti-social aspect of the addictive nature of phones and social media, was damaging the social fabric of the College and isolating our students.- Scotch Oakburn College principal Andy Muller
"The anti-social aspect of the addictive nature of phones and social media, was damaging the social fabric of the College and isolating our students," he said.
"I did a lot of research to support the observations of our teachers, into how phones affected students' ability to embed their learning, and how they isolated people, rather than brought them together."
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Mr Muller also has concerns about the "addictive nature of social media and mobile phone use" and its impact on the mental health of young people.
"It is my, the College's, responsibility to ensure that we are doing everything we can to provide a safe environment for our students," he said.
In Queensland, executive director of the Toowoomba Catholic Schools Office, Dr Pat Coughlan, said schools promote responsible use of all technologies, including mobile phones, for staff and students.
We see technology as a part of our world and believe that we play a part in teaching students how to use it responsibly.- Toowoomba Catholic Schools Office executive director Dr Pat Coughlan
"We see technology as a part of our world and believe that we play a part in teaching students how to use it responsibly," he said.
"Each of our schools and colleges have determined through consultation with their communities, how 'bring your own devices' such as mobile phones are to be used during a school day. This partnership with parents is key."
Billabong High School, located at Culcairn near the NSW/Victorian border, implemented a mobile phone ban earlier this year.
Principal Julie Brown told The Daily Advertiser she had concerns about TikTok clips that "harass, embarrass or intimidate others".
Policies for student use of mobile phones at government schools differ across Australia. In NSW they're banned from primary school children, while the decision is left up to individual high school principals.
In Victoria, phones brought to any government school must be switched off and stored securely during the school day.
In Western Australia, phones are banned for primary school students, but they are allowed in high schools although it must be turned off and kept "out of sight until the end of school", the state's education department says.
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