Topic

education

355 petitions

Started 4 days ago

Petition to Hon. Sarah Mitchell MLC, Gladys Berejiklian, Hon. Dan Tehan MP

Let the children play - take mobile phones out of high school playgrounds in NSW

With the rise of cyber bullying, childhood anxiety, depression and obesity, all known to be connected with excessive use of digital media, we need to follow Victoria and rising numbers of independent schools which have banned mobile phones in high schools during school hours.  The results show their efforts are paying off. The NSW government brought in a ban on mobile phones in public primary schools this year, giving high schools the choice to opt in to the ban.  Many public high schools, including the one my kids attend, have taken the option of banning phones during classes only.  I am now discovering through my Year 7 son, of problems arising from unsupervised phone use during recess and lunch breaks. One being that some of the year 7 boys (12 &13yrs old) have been watching hard-core, violent porn at lunch time.  Not all parents agree with the removal of phones during school hours, but I suspect they would be outraged if the school sent home a permission note to show the kids a violent porn movie. Other concerning aspects are the lost opportunity for social interaction and physical activity between lessons. Recess and lunch breaks are often the only available times for many children to develop valuable social skills and initiate friendships as well as expend some excess energy after sitting in a classroom for extended periods. Child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg says banning phones is a sensible mental health strategy that lets children focus on learning. He says, “schools like John Edmondson High School (NSW) who have had the ban in place for five years, report that there is increased socialisation and … more sport and healthy interaction.”  In WA, Perth College is hailing its break-time ban on mobile phones a success after noting a dip in cyber-bullying and surge in meaningful interaction. Principal Jenny Ethell said the school grounds had transformed into a cacophony of noise and activity as students rediscovered the joy of play. The prestigious Kings School in Parramatta has just announced a ban on all electronic devices for students up to year 10 during school hours, after a trial with year 7 last term. One teacher reported “All of a sudden the boys were doing things together and they weren’t sitting on their phones.” News.com.au reported in Nov. 2018;      ‘Private boys school Newington College joined Shore School and Tara   Anglican School for Girls … to keep mobile phones in their lockers from the beginning of the fourth term.      Schools banning mobile phones have reported increases in students engagement and conversation during breaks as well as physical activity.     Tara Anglican school reported increased participation in lunchtime clubs and engagement between schoolgirls since banning phones in Jan.(2018).     Sydney Church of England Grammar School, or Shore, has banned mobile phones for the last 13 years.      Deniliquin High School’s ban began in July 2018.  On day one of the ban, the school tweeted, “It was fabulously noisy in the yard today as students were busy talking to each other at recess and lunch instead of playing on their phones!”.’ According to a poll conducted by News.com.au, 75 per cent of people agree phones should be banned at every public school across Australia.  I'd like to feel confident that while he's at school, my son will be fully engaged in learning and his friendships, getting the most out of what school has to offer and won't be exposed to the kind of images most of us don't want to see as adults. PLEASE ACT NOW to get mobile phones out of high school playgrounds!  

Neela Sarkar
46 supporters