Leading educators say they would not support a ban on smart phones in New South Wales classrooms, an idea being canvassed by the state Government. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
Head of the NSW Secondary Principals’ Council Chris Presland said banning phones to stop bullying and reduce distractions is similar to banning cars to stop people from speeding.
“It’s not going to stop cyberbullying, firstly, most of it doesn’t occur during school hours and phones are just one device that kids have access to, it’s a complete red herring,” Mr Presland said.
The pushback comes as federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said he will support any schools that ban smart phones.
“I want kids to concentrate in class so they get the best possible education and I will back any school or teacher who bans mobile phones in the classroom where they are causing a distraction,” Mr Tehan told Fairfax Media.
“NSW is conducting a review into mobile phones in the classroom and they have agreed to share the results with the Education Council when it next meets at the end of the year.”
The NSW Government’s review will look at the benefits and risks of phones, including “whether a restriction or other limits should be placed on smart phone use for children in primary schools or children in certain age brackets”.
France also recently banned smartphones at schools for students younger than 15.
Executive director of the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta, Greg Whitby, said any type of ban would be “the wrong decision”.
“Why ban a tool so powerful as an educational device just because a few people misuse it?” Mr Whitby said.
“Kids are in schools for six hours and have access to technology for the rest of the 18 hours of the day.
“If you put in a prohibition, you’re not going to stop people using them, it’s a lifestyle. If we ban them we’re just going to fall further and further behind, we need to look at appropriate use and good use.”
NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes said: “Mobile digital devices are an essential part of the modern life. It’s clear kids need to learn how to use technology properly, just like they need to be taught how to drive cars.”
Educators push back against school smartphone ban (Sydney Morning Herald)