Mobile phones banned in Queensland schools

The Queensland state government has announced that mobile phones and smartwatches will be banned in all Queensland state schools during school hours – including break times - from Term 1, 2024.

The move will put Queensland in line with the rest of Australia and follows increasing concerns about the impact of mobile technology on student wellbeing.

While 95 per cent of schools across Queensland have already banned the use of mobile phones during class, around 15 percent do not extend this ban to break times.

Read the Term 2 edition of School News HERE

Earlier this year, Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace appointed former Queensland Family and Child Commissioner Cheryl Vardon to carry out a review into the current phone-in-schools policy.

“We are always happy to take a fresh look at things: the progression of technology and proliferation of wearable electronic devices meant it was time to do a review, and I thank Ms Vardon for her ongoing work,” Minister Grace said. 

“I’ve met with Ms Vardon, and she has made clear recommendations to ban phones and certain wearable devices during school hours, and for an education campaign for families.

“Both of those things will happen, and the campaign will complement the extensive and nation leading work we already do on cyberbullying.”

© Adobe Stock, New Africa

Despite the ban, students will still be able to bring phones to school so they can contact parents or carers immediately before or after school.

Exemptions will also be available in specific circumstances, including for health and wellbeing.

In May 2018, Finnish education expert Pasi Sahlberg claimed smartphones were distracting students from reading, school-related work, physical activity, and high-quality sleep. He has also speculated that mobile phone-related distraction is the main reason for Australia’s slide down the PISA rankings.

A 2015 study by Assistant Professor of Economics at Canada’s Carleton University Louis-Philippe Beland found that banning mobile phones had a positive impact on student performance. 

In an article for The Conversation, Assistant Professor Beland said the banning of mobile phones was equivalent to adding five days to the school year. 

“We found banning mobile phones at school leads to an increase in student performance,” he said.

“Our results suggest that after schools banned mobile phones, test scores of students aged 16 increased by 6.4 per cent of a standard deviation.

“The effects were twice as large for low-achieving students, and we found no impact on high achieving students. Our results suggest low-performing students are more likely to be distracted by the presence of mobile phones, while high performing students can focus with or without mobile phones.

“This is substantial improvement for a low-cost education policy”.

Comparable studies in Norway and Spain found similar academic benefits in addition to a reduction in bullying incidents. 

For non-state schools, mobile phone policies will remain at the discretion of the principal or school leaders.

Related Articles

Back to top button
SchoolNews - Australia