Review into the non-educational use of mobile devices in NSW schools

A NSW Government review into the risks and benefits associated with the use of mobile digital devices, primarily smartphones, in NSW schools is underway. The review is examining the policies, practices and views of both government and non-government schools in NSW, including schools for specific purposes and central schools.

Scope of the review

The terms of reference for the review are as follows:

  1. Conduct a review of evidence related to the benefits and risks of mobile digital devices*, primarily smartphones, in schools for children and young people and approaches and practices to support students’ use of such devices in safe, responsible, and informed ways. This will include:
    1. An international literature review on the use and impact of mobile digital devices in all school settings – primary, secondary, Schools for Specific Purposes (SSPs) and Central Schools. This will include peer-reviewed scholarship from across disciplines and ‘grey’ literature (such as program evaluations and reports on evidence-based interventions).
    2. Stakeholder consultation and feedback via focus groups and other mechanisms.

    The consultation with children and young people will include when, how, and why they use mobile digital devices in order that the review’s recommendations align with and can effectively and meaningfully impact their practices.

  2. The review will assess the extent to which having mobile digital devices in schools may contribute to or exacerbate identified risks, including cyber-bullying, image-based abuse, and access to online harm in schools.
  3. The review will identify how children and young people can best be prepared to mitigate identified risks.
  4. The review will identify best-practice approaches and practices for schools and parents to support students’ use of mobile digital devices in safe, responsible, and informed ways to promote learning and respectful relationships.
  5. The review will consider whether a restriction or other limits should be placed on smartphone use for children in primary schools or children in certain age brackets. The practices of other jurisdictions will be informative in this regard.

*Mobile digital device: a hand-held electronic device that can receive, store, process and send digital information.

Who is involved?

A reviewer, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, is conducting the review with the support of the NSW Department of Education. Other independent experts have also been commissioned to assist in the review.

The review is being informed by public consultation and the views of students, parents, teachers, principals, experts (in the field of child development, cyberbullying, mental health and technology) and other interested community members will be central to it.

Submission process

A comprehensive submission process has taken place to canvass the views of students, teachers, principals, parents/carers, experts and any other interested parties.

The public submissions process is now closed. Submissions were accepted between 17 September and 19 October 2018.

Contact us

For additional information, please contact: review-mobiledevices@det.nsw.edu.au.

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