Mobile phones will be banned in almost all schools in Australia – here’s what you need to know about the new rules coming into effect next year
- South Australia has banned mobile phones in public high schools from 2023
- Devices must either be left at home or turned off and kept at school
- The ban is intended to reduce bullying and promote distraction-free learning
Mobile phones are to be banned in schools from next year in South Australia, which has become the latest state to require students to leave their devices at home or lock them away during the school day.
Headmasters of public secondary schools have written to parents informing them of the ban, which will come into effect at the start of the 2023 school year.
South Australia will become the fourth state and territory in Australia to implement the ban, after Northern Territory, Victoria and Western Australia.
The mobile phone ban will extend to NSW if Labor wins the state election next year, meaning most schools across the country will have the blanket restriction.
Devices must either be left at home or locked up during school hours, while lockable, lead-lined bags are issued to students who need access to their cell phones during class.
Students who need their phone for translation, for medical reasons, or to contact their parents or guardians will be given an exemption.
The ban also applies to school activities, including camps and field trips.
South Australia has banned mobile phones from public secondary schools, requiring students to leave their devices at home or turn them off at school camp. Students who need access to their device in class are provided with a lockable, lead-lined pouch (as shown).
Marryatville High School principal John Tiver wrote to parents on Nov. 25 asking for feedback on the cellphone ban.
“Under the entry policy, all students are required to turn off their cell phones and other personal devices and keep them away from school unless their school grants an exception as per department policy,” Tiver said.
Mr Tiver said the mobile phone ban would reduce cyberbullying, prevent fights, which are largely staged so they can be filmed and shared on phones, and reduce distraction during lessons.
“Breaks can be used as valuable time away from screens to encourage physical activity and play, as well as meaningful personal connections with peers,” said Tiver.
South Australia’s Education Minister Blair Boyer said schools will be given a transition period to apply nationwide restrictions, which require their phones to be turned off year-round.
“Individual schools will continue to determine locally the most appropriate storage method for their location,” said Mr. Boyer.
“Access to personal devices during school hours must be managed so that students can be fully present in their learning and in their interactions with their teachers and peers.”
The push to introduce the ban – promised by Labor in the last state election – intensified after students used their phones to film violent fights (pictured).
Efforts to introduce the ban – promised by Labor ahead of the last state election – have intensified amid widespread incidents of students using phones to video fight.