Mobile phones will be banned at all public Victorian primary and secondary schools from next year to reduce distraction and cyber bullying.
Students will have to switch off their phones and store them in lockers during school hours until the final bell, Education Minister James Merlino has announced. Students will not be allowed also to use their phones during recess and lunchtime. Parents or guardians can reach their child by calling the school, but this only in emergency case. The only exceptions to the ban will be where students use phones to monitor health conditions. Another excepted situation will be if teachers instruct students to bring their phone for a particular classroom activity.
This is the first time a statewide ban has existed. A previous experiment in similar conditions was made by McKinnon Secondary College which banned phones and after reported that students were more focused during class and communicated more in the school yard. Child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Greg, who led an independent review for the NSW government ahead of its phone ban, welcomed the “courageous” move. However, principals are divided on the phone ban. “We are taking away an opportunity to learn how to self-manage a device,” some of them say.