Schools might ban mobiles, but do parents agree? If a parent wants to get a message to their child, what is wrong with sending a text? And what about emergencies?
Schools banning mobiles hide behind is their misuse. Sexting and cyber-bullying are grave issues but they are not exclusively school issues. They are a 24/7 challenge. As an argument for banning phones, it is naive and disingenuous. Why not ban laptops, PCs and tablets.
A school in Melbourne, Loreto Mandeville Hall, has shown prudent maturity in recognising that mobiles have a place in the lives of young people at school as well as at home.
In a constructive attempt to show reasonable balance it has not banned phones but, recognising that some year 9 and year 10 students may be experiencing inadequate sleep due to misuse of their electronic devices, they have brought in a sleep expert to approach what may be an issue for some students.
The school is running a trial of a phone-free approach between 8am and 3pm, when students are encouraged to not check their phones. It is not mandated. “We do not want to be perceived as the phone police,» said school principal Susan Stevens. «We are simply trying to inspire better habits.»
It shows enviable regard for its students by allowing them to “self-manage” their phone use. This approach sensibly acknowledges the place of mobile phones in contemporary society and their power as a communication tool.
Christopher Bantick is a writer and former secondary English teacher.