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A student's view of mobile phone bans

  • 03 July 2019


I walk into my school and hear students discussing the latest 'trending news' among Victorian students: the ban on usage of mobile phone during school hours in primary and secondary public schools in Victoria. As an average teenager it is interesting to imagine what schools will look like if students are not allowed to use smartphones during school hours.

Unlike many of my peers, I did not need to put in much effort to imagine what such a ban would feel like. I have already experienced similar, and in fact more rigid, rules when I studied in Dubai and in India. In these places students are prohibited from even bringing mobile phones to school, let alone using them during school hours.

But does this mean that students in these places lack some form of entertainment or skills in managing the time they spend on their phones? I don't think so. I used to witness more interaction among students and more studious class environments in India and Dubai than what I do now in a private Victorian secondary college.

Moving from a situation overseas where I was not able to use a mobile phone at all on school premises, to being granted the 'dream' in Australia of being able to bring a phone to school, has changed my mindset a lot. I moved away from being a person who could easily initiate a conversation with a stranger to a person trapped in the 'bubble' of my own world.

Most of my friends in my current school are busy snapchatting the experiments we do in science labs and chatting with 'long lost' friends they met at a party yesterday rather than being captivated by the experiments or talking to friends who are sitting right beside them.

Sure, I don't blame anyone for being distracted by frequent Facebook notifications or tempted to reply to messages as soon as possible, to maintain netiquette. But isn't it far better to enjoy the present moment and get the best out of these few high school years?

To me the ban is necessary, to reduce cyberbullying, to help average students like myself to focus on our education, and to help us learn to engage with people around us. It will reduce the need to get the latest smartphone in order to keep up with the smartphone one's bestie is using, thus reducing stress due to peer pressure and discrimination based on financial status.