'Learn To Be In The Moment': Why Schools Are Banning Mobile Phones
Schools are increasingly getting on board with mobile phone bans, as they grapple with a generation of kids who do not know life without them.
The exclusive Newington College in Sydney's inner-west is the latest school to hit the headlines after banning students from having their phones on them while at school.
The move has the support of child and educational psychologist Andrew Greenfield, who told 10 daily that it would be "effective" in helping students learn.
"No phones in classrooms would help with concentration, it would mean more interaction with teachers and other students," Greenfield said.
It's not just education that is taking a hit from technology, but social skills as well.
"Unfortunately, students are completely distracted by phones, and this is having a negative impact on social skills," Greenfield said.
The lack of face-to-face interaction between peers has come "at the expense of basic communication skills", according to Greenfield.
"It can also lead to bullying behaviour, and teasing, such as through texts and WhatsApp groups."
Greenfield said it would be reasonable for older students, such as in Years 11 and 12, to be permitted to have their phones as schools.
"They have less impulsivity, and are able to self-regulate better," he said.
Newington College issued a notice to students and parents that mobile phones lead to "warped views on reality", reports the Sydney Morning Herald, and that students would "gain greater academic and social benefits" from not having their phone on them.
Other schools that have issued phone bans include Shore, Tara Anglican School for Girls, and Deniliquin High School.
The bans are a welcome rule for Elsa Geelan, who works with students as a yoga and mindfulness teacher.
"Even with younger students, I find they really struggle to be in the moment," Geelan told 10 daily.
"They find it hard to try and relax, to be still, because they're so used to the stimulation from technology."
The "unhealthy attachment" that students have to their phones needs to be broken, said Geelan.
"They need to learn to be away from their phones, and learn how to cope without it," she said.
READ MORE: How To Break Your Phone Addiction Right Now
Earlier this year, both the NSW P&C and teacher's union told the NSW Government's review of the non-educational use of mobile phones in schools that mobile phones should be used a learning tool.
A report is due early next year from the review, led by child psychologist Michael Carr Gregg.
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