South Australian public high schools ban students from using mobile phones

Mobile phones to be banned at nearly every school in Australia – here’s what you need to know about the new rules that come into force next year

  • South Australia has banned mobile phones in public high schools from 2023
  • Devices must be either left at home or powered off and placed in school storage 
  • The ban aims to reduce bullying and promote learning free from distraction

Mobile phones will be banned in South Australian schools, with students required to either lock up or leave their devices at home.

Principals at public secondary schools have written to parents detailing the ban, which will commence at the start of the 2023 school year.

South Australia will become the fourth state and territory in Australia to implement the ban – which was promised by Labor in the last state election – following the Northern Territory, Victoria and Western Australia. 

The mobile phone ban will extend to NSW if the Labor party wins the state election next year.

Devices must either be left at home or locked in storage during school hours, while lockable lead-lined pouches will be issued to students who need access to their mobile phones during class.

Schools will issue eligible students with a card exempting them from the ban if they need their phone for translation, medical reasons, or to contact their parents or caregivers.

The ban also applies to school activities, including camps and excursions.

South Australia has banned mobile phones from public secondary schools with students required to leave their devices at home or powered-off in school storage. Students needing access to their device in class will be provided with a lockable lead-lined pouch (pictured)

Marryatville High School principal John Tiver asked parents for feedback on the mobile phone ban in a letter on November 25.

‘Under the incoming policy, all students must keep their mobile phones and other personal devices off and away at school, unless granted an exemption by their school under the department’s policy,’ Mr Tiver said.

Mr Tiver explained the mobile phone ban would reduce the impact of bullying and provide students with a learning environment free from distraction.

‘[phone policy will] help promote environments with reduced negative impacts of inappropriate use of devices at school, such as cyber-bullying, exposure to harmful content and critical incidents that involve mobile phones,’ Mr Tiver said.

‘[It will also create] classroom environments where teachers can teach, and students can learn free from distractions caused by personal use of devices.

‘Breaks can be used as quality time away from screens, encouraging physical activity and play and meaningful face-to-face connections with peers.’

South Australian Education Minister Blair Boyer said schools will be given a transition period to apply the statewide restrictions, which require all year levels to power off their phones.

Mr Boyer said schools must determine the ‘appropriate storage method’ for their students while access to phones must be ‘managed’.  

‘Individual schools will continue to locally determine the most appropriate storage method for their site,’ Mr Boyer said. 

‘Access to personal devices during school hours must be managed so that students can be fully present in their learning and in their interactions with their teachers and peers.’

The push to introduce the ban - which was promised by Labor in the last state election - intensified after students used their phones to film violent fights (pictured)

The push to introduce the ban – which was promised by Labor in the last state election – intensified after students used their phones to film violent fights (pictured)

Moves to introduce the ban – promised by Labor before the last state election — intensified in the wake of widely-publicised incidents involving students using phones to video fights,