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Thursday, October 12, 2023

Phones in NSW Schools are banned


Wil Massara

Chief Executive Officer & Founder

Phones in NSW Schools are banned from today. As a young person I have some thoughts and some ways you can navigate this conversation in the classroom.

This is a short term unsustainable solution - that I agree with.I also do agree that phones are distracting and cause a loss of focus in school however a complete ban is simply not sustainable.We know technology is becoming a bigger part of our lives each day, and we are becoming more reliant on tech for every day life. We also know that tech is becoming more prominent in our education and careers.The reason behind the ban is the correlation between an increase in phone use and a decline in test scores in schools.The reality is whilst phones may be part of cause, they are not the issue. The issue we are facing is since the early 19th Century the amount of information we receive is accelerating at a rate faster then ever and our brains cannot keep up.Consider this: in the early 1900s, news from the USA took days to reach Australia; today, it takes mere minutes. We are inundated with more information than ever before, yet our brains have evolved little in the last 40,000 years to cope with this information onslaught.

So, why isn't an outright ban sustainable?We must engage with young people and collaborate on a strategy that combines education and accountability. Our approach should rekindle their enthusiasm through creativity, innovation, and empowerment.If you're an educator wondering how to address this ban in your classroom over the next week, here are some actionable steps:

1️) Educate: Share the scientific rationale behind the ban and present alarming statistics, such as the decline in attention span—down to a mere 8.25 seconds in 2015, less than that of a goldfish at 9 seconds. (It's likely even less now.)

2) Consequences: Highlight what we are missing out on due to excessive phone use, including diminished communication skills, compromised health, decreased task completion, and poorer academic performance.

3️) Co-Design: Involve students in a collaborative activity to devise solutions for keeping phones out of sight while allowing them to take ownership of the consequences.Research shows that co-design leads to more meaningful outcomes, increased motivation, and a sense of ownership. It's time to include young people in the conversations that have the most profound impact on their lives.Mobile phones and technology are an addiction that many of us all are battling and we must start approaching them as such with the same level of empathy.

Additional Note: This article was written by,

Wil Massara

. This author is a member of YLAA's Youth Advisory Board. As our organisation continues to evolve, we want to make sure that we continue to represent and empower the voices of youth in their own affairs, that’s why we have created our first Youth Advisory Board - not only to ensure that our students’ interests are at the core of every aspect of our organisation, but also to give the young people we serve the opportunity to develop themselves personally, whilst contributing to our mission of ensuring a sustainable future for all youth.

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