Federal government supports move to ban student phones at Victorian public schools

Yolanda Curtis
June 29, 2019

Australia's largest state, New South Wales, banned mobile phones in primary schools in 2018, and France has banned all smart phones and smart devices from schools.

Tehan said there is evidence that banning mobile phones will prevent cyber bullying, but said more research was needed, pointing to the government's national anti-bullying day as a "start".

But while many support the move, saying "it's about bloody time" and "the right thing to do", others including teachers and parents have vented their frustration and stance against it.

Exemptions will however be granted to students who use phones to monitor health conditions, or those who have been given permission from their teacher - in the instance that they require them for classroom activities.

In a 2019 survey of about 2,000 Australian adults, by Monash University professor Neil Selywn, nearly 80% supported a restriction on cell-phone use in schools, while one-third supported an outright ban.

There have been mixed responses to the ban.

He said schools embrace technology in the classroom and they want kids to be digitally literate but mobile phones "enable" cyberbullying.

The ban will apply to recess, lunch, and other break periods, too.

The minister admitted the measure will not completely erase cyberbullying but said "it will make a big difference", in addition to fostering IRL communication in the playground.

"We can not stamp it out. But we can take some real steps to reduce the level of bullying", he said.

But amid the "for and against" arguments, some people didn't even know phones were allowed in schools in the first place.

In an attempt to combat cyber bullying and classroom distraction, cellphones will be banned from Victorian state primary and secondary schools in Australia from next year.

'I guess policy imitation is the greatest form of flattery, ' former Liberal leader Matthew Guy tweeted on Tuesday night.

Only Year 13 students will be permitted to use their phones during lunchtime.

Principal Pitsa Binnion believes students at the school have become more entrenched in their studies as a result.

"Our students are more focused learners in the classroom without this distraction", she said.

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