Cairns State High School principal Christopher Zilm with some of the banned devices, which will only be permitted to be used in one building. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Cairns State High School principal Christopher Zilm with some of the banned devices, which will only be permitted to be used in one building. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

School dials up rules for mobile phone lunch ban

CAIRNS State High will trial a new lunchtime phone ban next semester to get students away from their screens and back to old-fashioned verbal communication.

Under the current policy, students are forbidden from using their phones in class. The new policy extends that ban to break periods for students in years 7-10.

Principal Christopher Zilm said there had been numerous studies on the disrupting influence of mobile phones at school, and that a phone's 4G data could get around the school's filtered network.

"It's in the consultation phase and so far the feedback has been positive from parents and students," he said.

"There's a lot of peer pressure around buying and using mobile phones, particularly for younger students.

"It's an extra 80 minutes of time they can run around, talk to people and enjoy life."

Mr Zilm said the school recognised the benefits of technology in the learning environment, but that it needed to be supervised.

"There's a big concern that kids are spending too much time sitting still, looking at laptops during class; do they really need to be behind a screen at lunchtime as well?" he said.

"This isn't a full technology ban; our laptop program is highly beneficial and runs through the school network, and we recognise the benefits of mobile phones as a learning tool, and for work and life commitments."

Mr Zilm said Year 11 and 12 students would still be permitted to use mobile phones in break times, but only in their own study space on the top floor of the R Block building.

The trial will begin in semester one next year.


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