Should Mobile Phones Be Banned in Schools or Is it a ‘Non-Problem’ Distracting From the Real Issues?

A new mobile phone ban could see the consistent removal of mobile phones across all schools in the UK in an attempt to improve both the education and mental well-being of young people in the country.

New Guidelines Set to Ban Mobile Phones in Schools

Headteachers will receive guidance outlining the ban on mobile phones in schools, with a focus on promoting an education-focused environment that removes sources of distraction.

Phones will be banned throughout schools across the UK for the entire school day, not just in the classroom, allowing teachers to legally confiscate phones at their will.

England’s Current Mobile Phone Policy

Currently, individual heads in England have the autonomy to decide mobile phone policies for their schools, resulting in a lack of consistency across the country.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan is one of the leading supporters behind the bill. She hopes that consistency across schools in the UK will improve the mobile phone culture in schools that leads to bad behaviour.

“Schools are places for children to learn, and mobile phones are, at a minimum, an unwanted distraction in the classroom,” according to Keegan.

We are giving our hard-working teachers the tools to take action to help improve behaviour and to allow them to do what they do best – teach,” Keegan stressed.

Teaching Unions Criticise Plans

Teaching unions across the country have raised concerns about the effectiveness of the government’s plans, although some experts support the new laws for a number of reasons.

Geoff Barton, the General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, calls it unnecessary because “Most schools already forbid the use of mobile phones during the school day.”

According to Barton, this isn’t the first time the government has “announced a crackdown on mobile phones in schools,” and labelled the issue “a non-problem.”

As a suggestion to tackle the type of content children can access, Barton urged the government to focus on “bringing to heel the online platforms via which children are able to access disturbing and extreme content.”

Phones Contribute to Bullying

According to the official government website, mobile phones contribute to bullying in schools due to the increased ability to communicate with students both inside and outside the school gates.

A Unesco report suggested that phones also contribute to lower grades and “reduced education performance,” with mental health also being affected by the increased screen time.

Some experts say that access to social media has the potential to deplete self-esteem in young people as they view unrealistic lifestyles and constantly compare them to their own.

According to a study posted on Psychology Today, increased mobile phone use leads to an increase in suicidal tendencies and depression.

Tom Bennett, Lead Behaviour expert said that there’s “a strong and growing understanding of how damaging they can be for a child’s social and educational development.”

Parents Show Concern

Jason Elsom, chief executive of Parentkind, noted that 44% of parents in the UK have shown concern about the effects that phones and social media will have on their children’s education and mental health.

According to Elsom, “Society has sleepwalked into a position where children are addicted to harmful ‘electronic drugs’,” referring to phones as addictive “drugs.”

Keeping with the drug analogy, Elsom claimed kids have “no escape from their digital dealers, not even within the relatively safe grounds of their schools.”

Despite claims from teaching unions that the phone ban will not make a difference to children’s education, much could be said about the effect on their mental well-being as they focus on their studies.

The post Should Mobile Phones Be Banned in Schools or Is it a ‘Non-Problem’ Distracting From the Real Issues? first appeared on Pulse365 Limited.

Image Credit: Shutterstock / SeventyFour.

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