Vancouver School Board restricts cell phone use in classrooms

The city’s public schools will soon restrict cell phone use in the classroom after a vote by the Vancouver School Board Monday night.

Students’ use of mobile devices will be restricted for children in classes from kindergarten to Grade 7 across Vancouver schools.

School Board Trustee Preeti Faridkot says not only are cell phones a major distraction from learning, but she also suggests they impact kids’ emotional well-being.

“We’re so dependent on cell phones and on our watches for alerts, that it creates a negative impact on mental health,” said Faridkot.

“Students lack social skills nowadays. There is a big decline in youth having face-to-face interaction. We have heard and seen many cyberbullying incidents that happen regularly.”

She said 30 per cent of Canadian youth have reported incidents of cyberbullying, according to a government website. 

Faridkot says mobile devices provide school-time access to social media, which she says is another detriment to students’ health.

“Everything goes on social media nowadays. And it creates a very harmful environment, including negative impact on self-esteem, relationships, and overall mental health.”

The board says affected students will be required to keep phones “on silent and out of sight for the entire school day,” unless they get permission from an educator.

The motion came after the province announced in January that school districts would be required to implement new guidelines for device usage and social media access in schools by July.

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