Australie: The Victorian Government has banned the use of mobile phones in schools

dinsdag, 03 september 2019 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal

Quarterly report on electromagnetic radiation, health and well-being Vol 15 No 4 Sept 2019

Mobile phones will be banned for all students at Victorian state primary and secondary schools from Term 1 2020. The decision was announced by Education Minister for Education James Merlino in late June.

According to the Minister, the ban has been implemented to help prevent distraction, improve student learning and reduce cyber bullying. Recent research shows that cyberbullying affects approximately 53 per cent of young Australians.

Students will be required to switch off their phones and store them securely in lockers from the start of the school day until the final bell. When emergencies occur, parents or guardians can reach their child by calling the school. The only exceptions to the ban will be where students use phones to monitor health conditions, or where teachers instruct students to bring their phone for a particular classroom activity. At all other times phones must be in lockers.

Mr Merlino made the announcement at McKinnon Secondary College, where a ban on students’ use of mobile phones is already in place. ‘This will remove a major distraction from our classrooms, so that teachers can teach, and students can learn in a more focused, positive and supported environment,’ the Minister said.

Since the McKinnon mobile phone ban was introduced, the school has observed an improvement in student behaviour. According to Principal, Pitsa Binnion, ‘Our students are more focussed learners in the classroom without this distraction and we have observed improved social connections, relationships and interactions in the school during lunchtime.’

The ban will also have the effect of reducing student exposure to radiofrequency radiation which has been labelled a Class 2B carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Evidence suggests that children and young people are more vulnerable to this radiation and more at risk of developing brain tumours than adults.

In Term 3 2019, the Department of Education and Training will work with principals to develop detailed advice and resources as schools prepare to introduce this policy next year. A review will be conducted at the end of 2020.

‘All schools have a legal obligation to provide a safe environment in which to learn. This significant policy initiative is designed to ensure the well-being of young people while at school, free of distraction and potentially cyberbullying,’ said psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg.

Reproduced from ‘EMR and Health’ with permission from EMR Australia,

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