School Bans Smartwatches, Cell Phones, and Other Mobile Devices to “limit unnecessary distractions”

By B.N. Frank

Over the years, governments outside of the U.S. have been banning students’ use of personal cell phones while they are in school.  Administrators at schools in the U.S. and worldwide have decided to ban cell phones and other devices as well (see 1, 2, 3) including at Banora Point High School in Australia.

From Environmental Health Trust:

Banora Point High School Cell Phone and Smartwatch Policy To Support Student Learning

Banora Point High School (Australia) released its Mobile Phone Policy and Procedures restricting cell phones, smartwatches and other mobile devices in the school.

“Phones are off and away all day. Phones are not to be visible at any time during the day.”

Excerpts from the policy:

“Banora Point High School supports the restrictions of mobile phones and associated devices, including smart watches and listening accessories, in accordance with the NSW Department of Education: Students’ Use of Mobile Phones in Schools policy. Mobile phone use in schools can impact student learning and wellbeing. Restricting mobile phone use at school aims to increase focus in classrooms, remove distractions and promote positive social interaction, while reducing the potential for online bullying. Banora Point High School has strong teaching and learning practices to support students in the classroom using various forms of appropriate technology, which maximises the benefits and minimises the risks of digital environments and prepare students for life beyond school.”

“We foster a safe learning environment which supports and enhances each child’s social and emotional health through our wellbeing and learning support teams. Banora Point High School has elected to use the following approach. All mobile phones will be ‘off and away’ for the full school day, including recess and lunch. This will mean that students will have a responsibility to turn off their phone and store it safely in their school bag for the course of the school day. This is an approved NSW Department of Education option and will limit unnecessary distractions and complement our ongoing approach to ensure every student maximises their learning and social growth in a safe and supportive environment.”

“We applaud policies like these that support children’s education,” stated Theodora Scarato, Executive Director of Environmental Health Trust who pointed out that digital device policies support educational goals.

Research is finding school cell phone bans have a positive overall impact on academic attainment and student wellbeing. For example, research on two regions in Spain that banned phones in schools found significant reductions of bullying incidence as well as positive impacts on learning math and science.

Banning smartphones in Norwegian middle schools significantly increased girls’ grade point average improved their math test scores and  increased their likelihood of attending an academic high school track. A 2020 survey of 210 principals published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that more than 90 percent supported restricting students’ cell phones in school and 86 percent believed devices in the classroom harmed academic performance.

According to the 2023 UN report one in seven countries bans the use of mobile phones in schools. Governments that have banned cell phones in schools due to the impact on children’s learning range from England,  France, Netherlands, Finland and Israel, China, Australia, Ontario  and Greece to Ghana,Rwanda: and Uganda.

Download the policy

Learn more about the impact of screens on children’s health. 

A study published within the past few months concluded that kids’ excessive use of cell phones could shorten their lifespans.  Of course, tech experts (aka “Silicon Valley Parents”) may have always suspected health risks as they have taken drastic measures to limit their own kids’ use and exposure to screens for many years now.  This includes sending their kids to low-tech and/or no-tech schools, making their nannies sign “no screens” contracts, and spying on their nannies to make sure they aren’t breaking those contracts (see 1, 2).  In the meantime, tech companies continue to manufacture and market screens and apps for parents to provide to their children, including infants.  Additionally, many American public schools continue to invest in screen-based curriculums (see 1, 2).

Activist Post reports regularly about health and unsafe technologies.  For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:

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