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Should We Keep Phones In School? An Argument Investigated By The Briefing

Last night, Queensland announced mobile phones and smart watches will be banned from all state schools, aligning its policies with the rest of the country.

While 95 per cent of state schools in Queensland have a “clear policy” of banning phone usage during class time, the changes will prohibit usage all together.

It seems like a no-brainer given how distracting and harmful smartphones can be to kids and teens, right?

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On today’s episode of The Briefing, host Jan Fran gets the full story with child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg and senior lecturer at the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University, Dr Jason Zagami.

Mr Carr-Gregg was instrumental in bringing the ban across several states and is strong with his opinion the government should ban smartphones in state schools from first to last bell.

He says his argument is supported by leading a report for the New South Wales government, talking to schools which had already implemented the ban.

“I talked to lots of schools who had already done this and the lived experience of many schools who’ve done this. They were saying to me, there’s far less distraction in class, there’s less cyber bullying in schools,” he explains.

“There is an increase in academic performance and the students, parents and teachers were all generally much happier. There was also an increase in socialization at lunchtime and at recess.”

Dr Zagami is one of those who is actually against the blanket ban. He is outnumbered by experts, principals and state governments but has reasons for his stance.

He says there are two main aspects as to why the ban isn’t the way to go.

“Students need to learn about how to use these devices in order to cope with life. They’re a ubiquitous part of our society today,” he explains.

“If we have a role in schools to prepare students for life, then that is a fundamental aspect that we need to be preparing them for and simply taking them out of schools completely means schools are going to be less able to do that.

“The second aspect is they are a fantastic resource, and we want to teach students how to use them productively as a powerful computing device connected to the internet.”

You can hear the full argument from Mr Carr-Gregg and Dr Zagami on today’s episode of The Briefing.

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