Australie: Mobile phones to be banned from NSW primary schools

vrijdag, 14 december 2018 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal

13 dec. 2018

Mobile phones will be banned from NSW public primary schools from next year in a bid to combat bullying and distractions in the classroom.

The ban follows an independent review which found a rise in online bullying, the sharing of explicit images and a lack of focus in classrooms due to mobile devices.

''Technology should be there to help a child learn it should not be there to upset them or make them feel uncomfortable,'' Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Thursday.

''We think this sends a strong message to the community that we don't want any child subjected to bullying or unnecessary images that they might find on the mobile phone.''

Education Minister Rob Stokes said the review called short of eliminating all smart devices in schools but said there was a clear rationale for banning phones in primary schools.

''We are removing a distraction the experts tell us causes anxiety, stress and depression in young people and also introduces the risk of predatory behaviour,'' he said.

High schools will also have the ability to opt-in to the ban, but Mr Stokes said many schools already had restrictions in place.

However, Maurie Mulheron president of the NSW Teachers Federation said a ban at primary schools would not be effective unless the broader issue of children and technology was tackled.

''We need parents to also take responsibility as well, do they know where their child's phone is during the night? Do they know their child is not texting at 3am or what website they are visiting?'' he said.

Mr Mulheron said there was also a ''huge disparity'' in technology between students of different socioeconomic backgrounds that needs to be addressed.

''Some children go home and the only digital device is mum's phone and others have desktops, laptops, the latest smartphone there is a huge disparity,'' he said.

Matt Bower, an expert in digital technology in classrooms at Macquarie University, said an outright ban for all schools may not be the ideal solution.

''A blanket ban does not recognise that the benefits in some contexts may well outweigh the disadvantages,'' he said.

''Many students can use their phone sensibly and responsibly, and banning them from using it may inhibit their learning.''

The independent review was led by child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg and considered around 14,000 survey responses from parents, teachers, principals and academics.

The education department will provide guidelines to schools about how the ban will work.

If there are special requests from parents, mobile phones will be kept somewhere to be accessed before or after school, Ms Berejiklian said.

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