Do you allow mobile phones in your school?

By the age of 12, 97% if children have their own mobile phone.

A secondary school in London has announced they will be open to pupils for 12 hours per day to try and break teenager’s tech obsession. The headteacher wants to help children who spend their lives buried on their devices with some unable to make eye contact or maintain a conversation. The pupils will be offered extracurricular activities including art, dodgeball, basketball and cookery classes and they will also be served a hot dinner after the official school day ends.

Earlier this year the government announced a crackdown on phones in schools, however many had already banned them during lessons. The guidance backed headteachers in prohibiting the use of phones through the school day (including break times). Schools will be able to choose an approach to prohibiting mobile phones which suit them, but this could include banning phones from the school premises, handing in phones on arrival at school or keeping them locked away.

Why are schools banning mobile phones?

  • Using mobile phones in school can lead to online bullying, distraction and class disruption which can lead to lost learning time. Phones often lead children to take part in activities they usually wouldn’t so banning phones would take the pressure off children to act impulsively and participate in negative behaviours.
  • Sleep cycles are affected by blue light from screens which trick our brain into thinking it is sill daylight, making it difficult to sleep. This then has a negative impact on children and young people during the school day.
  • Too much passive screen time could weaken communication and social skills and some research has found that children who spend more than two hours a day on screen-time activities scored lower on language and thinking tests.

Are there any benefits of screen time?

  • Children in households with computers perform better academically than peers who do not have ready access to computers.
  • The internet gives children access to a wealth of information to help build their knowledge.
  • Online games and activities can enhance teamwork and creativity.
  • Interacting with computers can improve visual intelligence and hand-eye coordination.

To be able to use mobile phones effectively, children need education and guidance both at home and at school. Mobile phones can have a positive impact on children however there are many negative effects that can easily be prevented. Adults should role model when it is and is not okay to use them and they will need to enforce boundaries around safe, responsible and appropriate use.

What is your school’s policy on mobile phones?