The SSTA has taken a stance to support teachers to use their own discretion when it comes to the use of mobile phones in their classes. The reason for this position was due to the poor access to computers, mobile devices and connectivity to the internet (WiFi). Over the past few years there has been growing concern that the use of mobile phones is impacting on pupils learning, their health and wellbeing and behaviour.
The OECD United Nations has warned of the risks of smartphones in schools, stating "only technology that supports learning" is merited in schools. Mobile devices can cause distraction, risk pupil privacy and lead to cyber-bullying says UNESCO, the UN's education, science and culture agency. (Reported 26 July 2023)
The Dutch Minister for Education, Culture and Science, Robbert Dijkgraaf, announced that, in order to limit potential distractions for students, mobile phones and other smart devices will no longer be permitted in classrooms in schools in the Netherlands from 1 January 2024. (Reported 6 Jul 2023)
A crackdown on the use of mobile phones in Scottish schools is being considered amid growing concerns that they disrupt learning and affect brain development. Jenny Gilruth, the Scottish Education Secretary, is “very interested” in a UN report that recommended a ban. She told ‘The Times’ that she would consider ordering research into the effect that stricter phone policies could have on education. This could include looking at the effect of locking devices away for the day in secure boxes. (Times 4 September 2023)
From a recent report on behaviour in Scottish schools, ‘the abusive use of mobile phones and digital technologies was one of the most frequently experienced serious disruptive behaviours among secondary staff,’(Behaviour in Scottish Schools 2023, Scottish Government, November 2023)
An email has been sent to members with a link to the mobile phone survey. To allow the SSTA to take forward our members concerns, we would be grateful if you could take time to complete this survey. It will help to inform our position on the use of mobile phones in schools
Thank you for taking time to complete the survey and your ongoing support.