After much deliberation, research and collaboration, Whitefriars College has decided to formally institute restrictions on student mobile phone use at school. During school hours, students will not be allowed to access their mobile phones unless guided by staff for a teacher-directed learning activity. There are many applications which provide our students educational benefit and many staff utilise these in the classroom.
As a College, we understand that mobile phones are an integral part of society and perform many important functions. However, in a school setting, mobile phones can be a significant distraction to a students’ learning. Furthermore, issues such as problematic mobile phone use negatively impacting a young person’s wellbeing, mobile phone over-reliance and addiction, increased student passivity and promoting genuine social interaction and engagement are all issues we take very seriously. Therefore, Whitefriars College seeks to assist students in moderating and managing their use of this technology.
The policy has been in place for three weeks and the reaction from parents has been overwhelmingly supportive. The following is a typical reaction we received from our parent community; “Just wanted to say how incredibly impressed I am with Whitefriars new mobile phone policy. I work a lot with Michael Carr-Gregg and Susan McLean and am very aware of their tireless work with the minister both in NSW and Victoria around this issue. I am so very glad our son is under your care.”
Already, there is a notable difference, especially in the yard at recess and lunchtime. One staff member noted, “The yard was a fun and vibrant place this week. I had such a laugh on yard duty today. The boys are interacting, playing ball games and just being loud. It’s great!!!!”
Michael Carr-Gregg, one of Australia’s highest profile Psychologists and who works in the areas of bullying, adolescent mental health and parenting, tweeted on the Whitefriars Twitter page, “Congratulations to @WhitefriarsColl for new mobile phone policy.”
Whilst it might take the students a while to adjust to this new environment and resist the temptation to check their device every 5 minutes, we hope that the long term benefits, both educationally and from a wellbeing perspective, will be long-lasting.
Mr Mick Lafferty
Deputy Principal – Students