NSW high school students are now banned from using their mobile phones during school hours but one Illawarra school is already a decade ahead of the curve and their P&C president says "It's a really good thing".
All NSW public high schools will enforce a mobile phone ban beginning in term four 2023, with mobile phones already banned in NSW primary schools. The ban includes class, recess and lunch times with students allowed to carry phones while traveling to and from school.
Woonona High School has enforced a zero-phone policy for over 10 years, and their P&C president Heidi Luyten said the ban is just "part of the culture at school".
"There's very few things that need to be communicated from that six-hour window that can't wait till home," Mrs Luyten said.
The mother-of-three said all of her kids had "never known any different", with her youngest still attending the school.
"When they're out in the playground at lunch. The kids are not looking down at their phone and they are talking to each other and I think it actually is a really positive thing," she said.
Mrs Luyten said parents and guardians who need to contact their child during school hours can leave a message with the school office.
Her advice to other parents is to "trust the process and trust that the people are doing it in the best interest of the kids".
The Mercury hit the streets to ask locals for their opinion on the upcoming phone ban in public high schools.
Kiama resident Cathy Taylor said her child's school already has a mobile phone ban and believes "it's a good idea but they should be able to use them during an emergency".
Dapto High School student Shallyce Collins believes the mobile phone ban is silly because "people have lives outside of school".
"I understand that they want to prevent stuff from happening with mobile phones and distractions," she said.
The year 11 student believes the ban may make the process of contacting a parent during school hours more time-consuming when done through the school.
"If they need to get into contact with someone they have to go through this whole process of getting permission and I just think that's like time consuming, difficult."
Shallyce's dad said students should be able to get in contact with their parents if they need something.
"If they're responsible enough with them at school, then they should be allowed to have them at school," Nigel Collins said.
Horsley resident Olivia McElhone said the focus should be on education while you're at school
"Being able to have them there and not access them during school hours is reasonable ... they can use them before and after to communicate when they need to."
The mother-of-two said her kids will probably need a phone before high school for social and cultural connection.
"It's going to be more difficult now with my kids, we live in an age that's much more driven by social media and just being accessible at all times no matter who that's by."
The NSW Government consulted with schools since April 2023 on ways they can implement the ban. Some options include phones being placed into lockable pouches, lockers, bags or given directly to school staff.
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