A high school teacher says a mobile phone ban starting in NSW public secondary schools in coming weeks will help resolve a "massive issue", as she revealed new rules at her school would see students being suspended for using them.
In NSW mobile phones are already banned in state primary schools and the ban on use in secondary schools comes into force when the new term starts on October 9. South Australia banned phones from the start of Term 3, while Queensland will ban them from the start of 2024. All other states and territories have bans in place.
Discussing the imminent ban at her school, the young NSW teacher said phones have always been discouraged at schools, but the "rule has gotten a bit lost" over the years.
"It's becoming harder to manage because the phone is glued to everyone, not just kids," she said in her viral TikTok from last week.
"Kids say all the time, 'Miss, my mum's calling or texting me or 'I need to find out how I'm getting home'... that's how they communicate with each other which is obviously fine.
"But I feel like you send your kid to school knowing they're being supervised by adults, and if you need to contact them you should be contacting the school."
How will the phone rule be implemented?
Students at NSW public high schools will officially be banned from using their phones in classrooms and during recess and lunch from Term 4, however some schools have taken to banning them earlier.
The teacher explained in her video how the school she works at will be imposing the ban as of next week, saying there will be a three warning system.
"If you see the phone once, you have to take it and students only get it back at 3pm," she said. "The next time, it goes to the office and their parents have to pick it up. If it happens a third time, it's either a suspension or suspension warning."
She also explained how the rule will apply to "smart watches, iPads, AirPods, anything you can use to connect to your phone".
"I do think it's a bit dramatic, but I think it's the only way to help resolve this massive issue in the classroom," she said. "There's not really another option but it is a pretty big thing."
Aussies react to blanket phone ban
Hundreds of people reacted to the video, with some believing the policy is "super flawed".
"I understand banning it during class but they should at least be able to use it at recess and lunch," one person said. "My child texts me from her laptop all day," another said.
Federal Education Minister Jason Clare said in July also banning phones in the playground will improve students' social skills.
"If you’re in the playground and you’ve got a mobile phone, you’re probably going to do what we do here in Parliament House, which is scrolling through your phone," he said. "Take the phone away and children start talking to each other and playing with each other, and running around the playground having fun and exercising."
Some teachers working at schools where bans are in place commented on TikTok they've been seeing good results for the students. "Recess and lunch has been much more social," one person said. "Seniors mentioned they're more focused in class," another said.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.