Education minister lauds SA decision to join four other states in curbing mobile phone usage in its schools.
The Federal Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, has endorsed the South Australian Government’s ban on mobile phones in primary schools, saying it will lead to more focussed and engaged students.
“Data shows a correlation between the uptake of mobile phones by young people and a downturn in student performance,” Tehan said.
Increase in anxiety and depression
“There is also growing evidence that mobile phones and social media use has led to an increase in anxiety and depression in young people, particularly young women. We need to encourage our students to focus on learning by removing the distraction of mobile phones in the classroom.”
He said that in schools where mobile phones had been banned, educators had seen more engaged students and even a return to kids playing at lunchtime.
“The South Australian Government has demonstrated strong leadership with its announcement that it will restrict state primary school students from accessing their mobile phones during school hours from next year,” Tehan stated.
Four states already curb school usage
“South Australia joins the New South Wales, Victorian, Western Australian and Tasmanian Governments, which have all announced restrictions on the use of mobile phones in state primary and secondary schools in 2020.
“Our Government encourages the remaining states and territories to follow suit, and we will work with any jurisdiction to limit the use of mobile phones in schools,” Tehan said.
When the Victoria State Government decided to ban mobile phones in schools from the start of 2020, it noted that the aim of the policy was to provide “a safe environment to learn without inappropriate mobile phone use, including cyberbullying, or distractions”.
More opportunities for social interaction
The Victorian government said it also wanted to create greater opportunities for social interaction and physical activity during recess and lunchtimes.
“The use of technology is important, but the risks and benefits from its use need to be managed,” it added in a statement.
According to a study on the results of mobile phone bans at schools in England, the subsequent benefits included an increase in test scores for students aged 16 – by an amount equal to adding five extra days to the school year.