Students at Victorian public schools will soon be banned from using their phones during school hours, thanks to a landmark decision Education Minister James Merlino says will curb cyberbullying.
Apparently not considered: the idea of schoolkids becoming even sneakier with their shit-posting habits. In any case, ABC reports the State Government has resolved to ban the use of phones from the opening bell to the last from the first semester of 2020.
The blanket ban will cover all government primary and secondary schools, and will require students to keep their phones in school lockers unless they need them for a specific classroom exercise or medical reasons.
Merlino said private schools will be excepted as the department does not have the power to enforce such a ban in those facilities.
“This is common sense,” Merlino said.
The minister admitted the measure will not completely erase cyberbullying but said “it will make a big difference,” in addition to fostering IRL communication in the playground.
Banning phones from schools is set to be a contentious measure. A 2018 Deloitte study found 89% of surveyed Australians own a smartphone, and students entering primary school in 2019 have not experienced a world before the iPhone 5.
Throw in the myriad of ways young Australians use social media – often through smartphones – to communicate, interact, and express their identities to the world around them, and the ban seems tailor-made to annoy new generations of kids.
There’s also the fact such a ban seems to skirt the social and societal issues which foment any kind of bullying, but hey.