Newington College has joined a growing number of schools banning mobile phones, saying they lead to lower concentration, higher stress and “warped views on reality”.
The inner west school told students to keep phones in their lockers from the beginning of term four after an attempt to encourage boys to use them responsibly failed.
But bans remain divisive, with both the NSW P&C and teachers union telling a NSW government review into smartphones in schools that they were useful for learning and educators should help students use them constructively.
Newington joins schools such as Shore, Tara Anglican School for Girls and Deniliquin High School, a public school in the Riverina, in banning phones.
Until mid-October, Newington’s policy was that students could carry their phones on them but that they should be neither seen nor heard during the school day. Some students made “good and autonomous decisions … many have had difficulty in this regard,” the notification to parents read.
So from term four, phones were to be left in lockers, and messages could be checked briefly at lunch and recess. Parents were told to contact their sons through the college’s reception office.
The decision was based on research showing that when people carried phones with them, they could display lower concentration due to constant interruptions, increased fear of missing out, reduced memory, warped views on reality and increased stress.
“The college believes that students will gain greater academic and social benefits from not having their mobile phone on their person during the school day,” the notice said. The policy would be reviewed during the term, and might be extended to smart watches.
– Jordan Baker, The Sydney Morning Herald
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