We recognise that mobile technology is a feature of modern life for everyone, and that there are many benefits to responsible use of mobile phones and other devices. However, regular use of mobile device applications, especially social media, can impact negatively on learning, relationships and wellbeing, and compromise our safeguarding principles and practices.
The Warriner is a phone-free space. To support this, in Years 7-11 we use a system called Yondr. Yondr has been used across the world in over 1,000 schools, as well as at concerts, comedy shows, businesses, camps, weddings and special events of all kinds.
The goal of these spaces is to encourage people to engage with each other and their surroundings.
The Yondr Program employs a simple, lockable pouch that stores a mobile phone. Every student will secure their phone in a personally assigned Yondr pouch during Tutor Time each morning. Students will maintain possession of their phones and will not use them until their pouches are opened at the end of the school day. Students are required to bring their Yondr pouches to and from school each day and are responsible for their pouches at all times.
Should students be found to be using their mobile phone without consent during the school day their phone will be confiscated and placed in a safe in the Warriner Learning Centre until the end of the school day. Repeated incidents will lead to further sanctions.
There is a current debate regarding whether mobile phones should be banned in schools. Yondr provides a more sophisticated answer, allowing students to have their phone before and after school which helps to protect their safety. They can also be unlocked during the day if the teacher wants the technology to be used to enhance learning or if there is an emergency situation at home.
Key reasons for this decision:
- Mobile phone addiction can cause mental health issues. Some studies suggest a possible link between ‘mobile phone addiction’ and negative psychological effects such as sleep deprivation, anxiety, stress and depression. Yondr provides a much-needed break from their mobile phones.
- There is increasing concern regarding the role mobile phones play in the increasing amount of online bullying and peer-on-peer abuse. Before mobile phones and Internet connections, bullying was limited to face-to-face physical and verbal abused. Now, cyberbullying can also follow students home, where they should feel safe. What's more, students can also take photos and videos and target students and teachers anonymously.
- Mobile phones reduce concentration and productivity in lessons. The temptation to check social media during a lesson can be high and can distract students. One study from the London School of Economics showed that banning mobile phones in schools had a positive effect on test scores. They surveyed schools in four English cities and found that student performance in high-stakes examinations significantly increased.
We are encouraged by the effects of this system in learning institutions. Yondr surveyed over 900 school partners to measure the effects of creating phone-free educational environments. These schools achieved notable progress in multiple areas:
- 65% of schools saw an improvement in academic performance
- 74% of schools saw an improvement in student behaviour
- 83% of schools saw an improvement in student engagement in the classroom