Could a ban on mobile phones in schools reduce cyberbullying?

With secondary school pupils in England appearing to fall victim to cyberbullying more frequently than their peers across the world, according to a global survey of teachers, there is likely to be fierce debate over whether mobile phones should be banned in schools. The Independent reports.

In France, pupils up to the age of 15 now have to leave their phones at home, or switch them off, after a law was passed prohibiting their use at school.

Now Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, is also set to ban pupils from using mobile phones in classrooms to help students to focus on their learning.

By restricting the time spent on mobile phones during the school day, pupils will automatically have less access to hurtful content on the internet and social media.

A number of ministers, including health secretary Matt Hancock, have suggested mobiles should be banned during school hours amid concerns that social media use can expose children to risks like cyberbullying.

Some heads who have introduced a ban have noticed a decline in bullying during school hours. But ultimately it cannot reduce the risk in the evenings, weekends or holidays.

It is true that reducing screen time in schools could reduce risks of cyberbullying – but it is not a quick fix. Children still need to be taught how to protect themselves online and how to self-regulate their mobile phone to ensure they do not fall victim to cyberbullying away from the school gates.

Read more Could a ban on mobile phones in schools reduce cyberbullying? 

As the debate rumbles on what do you think? Are mobiles banned in your school? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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