School phone ban helps class become ‘focused and positive’: psychologist

One of Australia’s most prominent psychologists has backed the decision to restrict the use of mobile phones in school, saying it can restore students’ concentration and foster a better classroom environment.

Michael Carr-Gregg, an adolescent and child psychologist and author of 14 books, said in an email to The Epoch Times that students and classes would benefit from being required to “turn off their phones and put them away safely. in lockers from the beginning of school until the last bell.

The only exceptions should be when students use phones to monitor health conditions, or when teachers ask students to bring their phones for a particular activity in class.

Parents and guardians can reach their child by contacting the school in case of emergency, he added.

“At all other times, the phone must be in the lockers,” Carr-Gregg said.

The experience of schools that have used this approach is that it removes a major distraction from classrooms, so teachers can teach and students can learn in a more focused, positive, and supported environment.

Carr Gregg is the Commonwealth Government Representative on the Board of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, an Accredited Trainer for Mental Health First Aid Australia and a Community Ambassador for smiling spirit. Some of his best-selling parenting books include Surviving teens, The Princess Bitchface Syndrome, Beyond cyberbullying, and When do you really need to worry.

Positive results observed

The comment comes after an Australian high school saw a 90% reduction in behavioral problems, such as bullying, in just eight weeks after implementing a firm ban on mobile phones.

Beginning in late April, Davidson High School offered students a lockable phone pouch to store their phones during the day. Principal David Rule said in the school newsletter that students are “be more active during their breaks with lots of handball and basketball.

“In the library, I witness card games, board games, but also groups of students sitting in a circle and talking to each other.”

Meanwhile, principal Glen Sawle of Wauchope Public School, the first school in Australia to test locked phone technology in 2019, noted that students are less distracted during the day on their social media.

Carr-Gregg told The Epoch Times that we now know that excessive use of social media negatively affects young people’s mental health.

“Studies have found that using social media more than three times a day predicted poor mental health and well-being in adolescents. Other studies have also observed links between high levels of social media use and symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Phones reduce productivity

Clinical experts have also warned that multitasking on phones, between different devices, and between phones and other tasks, can hamper our ability to think.

A 2009 Stanford study showed that media-heavy multitaskers are more prone to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli and irrelevant representations in memory. This causes them to perform worse on a task-switching ability test, likely due to a reduced ability to filter out interference, the researchers found.

Child Mind Institute clinical neuropsychologist Matthew Cruger said in a interview in 2021 that “having multiple sources of technology at your fingertips and available at all times is likely almost guaranteed to reduce performance and productivity.”

“Children will start a task, try to complete it, but won’t take the time to travel and figure out the best way to do the task,” he added, noting that people without a disciplined routine of thinking and learning will have more difficulty improving their performance.

Meanwhile, a 2021 study published in Frontiers in Psychology reveals that the constant disturbances by phones elicit negative emotional reactions and thus undermine the psychological well-being of users.

According a search 2021 per, Australian Gen Z (1997-2012) spend about 7.3 hours a day in front of a screen. That’s more than the average time Australians spend on their phones, which is 5.5 hours a day, which equates to 16.6 years in a lifetime.


Nina Nguyen is a Sydney-based journalist. She covers Australian news with a focus on social, cultural and identity issues. She is fluent in Vietnamese. Contact her at [email protected]

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