School Principal Claims Classroom Ban On Smartphones Has Reduced Cyberbullying

Nick Givas | Media And Politics Reporter

An Australian high school is experimenting with a new policy that bans phones from the classroom and restricts Wi-Fi access, to help limit distractions and cut down on cyberbullying.

The principal of New Town High in Hobart, Australia, David Kilpatrick, claimed the policy is working and producing positive results since being implemented at the beginning of the school year, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. (RELATED: CNN Devotes Entire Segment To Trump’s Personal Cellphone Use)

Kirkpatrick said students were becoming uninterested in classroom curriculum and instances of cyberbullying were becoming common. “The phones were actually distracting learning and making it difficult for kids to achieve the outcomes of the Australian curriculum,” he told ABC.

New Town High also blocked all social media from the school’s Wi-Fi, forcing students to use their own data to access certain sites and applications, according to ABC.

Kilpatrick said students began thanking him for enacting the new policy, only two weeks after it was implemented.

“The remarkable thing for me is many of the students, in about week two or week three [of the new policy], came up to me and said ‘Thank you for doing this Mr Kilpatrick,'” he said.

American school are also trying to combat cellphone use in the classroom but no uniform policy has been adopted nationwide. Some schools make students keep their phones in their lockers, while others provide a pouch for children to drop their phones into once they enter the classroom, according to USA Today.

Seymour High School in Connecticut reported higher grades and a more focused atmosphere after initiating a blanket cellphone ban in December, according to The Associated Press. The principal, Jim Freund, said the ban came after various displays of “mean spirited behavior” appeared over text and social media sites.

Ninety percent of parents who were “likely to get their kids wireless service before they turn 13” wanted to be able to easily reach their child, a Nielsen survey from February 2017 showed. Eighty percent wanted to be able to track their child’s location and movements.

When asked about their child’s level of responsibility when using their devices, 72 percent of parents polled said cellphones pose too much of a distraction to their children. Seventy-one percent were concerned about their child spending too much time on their devices.

The Nielsen report polled 4,646 parents 18 years or older, with children between the ages of 6 and 12 years old.

France also took action against cellphones in the classroom and banned students’ smartphone use at schools, a law that went into effect in September. The country also banned tablets and any other devices that could be used to access social media or the internet, for students aged 3 to 15, CNN reported.

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