Plan To Jam Mobile Phones In Schools Is Madness

Mobile phones in schools. If you’re a teacher, school staffer, or a parent, you’ve likely got six hundred opinions about this very topic, and you will have had six hundred arguments about it this week. In Australia, push has come to shove, and several states have banned the use of mobile phones during school hours entirely. Others are contemplating doing the same.

In the state of New South Wales, the current opposition party has made it clear it will implement a ban if elected. Wildly, the party wants to use mobile phone jamming technology to enforce this ban whether students intend to comply or not. Let’s take a look at how jammers work in theory, and explore why using them in schools would be madness in practice.

Cellular Jamming 101

In general, mobile phone jammers work in a relatively simple fashion. They simply random noise broadcast radio frequency signals on the same frequencies used by cellular networks. If the signal from the jammer is powerful enough, it will drown out the signals from cellular base stations, and stop phones from making contact with the network.  Typically, broadcasting noise at high power across cell phone channels is all that’s required to successfully jam all communication.

You could make a cell phone jammer yourself, but you really shouldn’t.

Depending on the amount of power you put out, and the antennas you use, you can vary the area affected by your jammer. Of course, measuring this area is an inexact science. In much the same way you can’t stop your home WiFi network from reaching outside the front gate, you can’t readily limit a cell phone jammer’s output to, say, the boundary of a schoolyard.

And therein lies the problem with using cellphone jammers in schools. Given that most schools are in built-up areas, Lorain High School hallwaythere is a high likelihood of jammers spilling over to mobile phone users in surrounding homes and businesses. The outcomes would be profoundly negative in all cases. At best, residents and workers would be deprived of access to connectivity they need to do their jobs and pursue their very lives. At worst, emergency calls could fail to connect, and lives could be put on the line.

It’s for this reason that cellphone jamming is very much illegal in Australia, and most everywhere else for that matter. It doesn’t matter whether you want to jam signals in your own home or business, or just have a jammer in your pocket to keep your devices in the dark on the go. Owning, using, or supplying a jammer is illegal in Australia. It’s thanks to a permanent ban put in place by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Interestingly, though, there is a limited exception to the permanent ban, and there has already been a live trial jamming technology within the state of NSW. Via a special exception granted by the ACMA, the government has implemented mobile phone jammers in the Lithgow and Goulburn Correctional Centers. Since mobile phones may enter a prison as contraband, the jammers act as an extra measure to help prevent their use. The jammers were first trialled in Lithgow beginning in 2013. The trial aimed to determine whether the jammers would unduly interfere with regular mobile phone users outside the jail. After the trial proved successful, an ongoing authorization was granted in 2018. A trial at Goulburn Correctional Center is ongoing. In this case, the Goulburn facility exists in a more populated area, and thus there is a greater risk of the jammers causing problems for surrounding residents. As per requirements of the ACMA, the devices used in Goulburn may not cause radio emissions above -128.5 dBm/kHz outside the prison facility. The intention of this measure is to make sure legitimate phone users outside the prison are not affected by the jammer.

It’s Problems All The Way Down

While the authorities have largely supported the use of jammers in prisons, schools are another thing entirely. Jammers would affect students, teachers, and staff alike. They would also affect parents at school drop off, and any contractors working in or delivering to the school. Few of these people would expect to be cut off from their phone service, but jammers don’t discriminate.

Lorain High School hallway” by Matt Dempsey

The blanket use of jammers in schools would thus present concerning safety issues. Any emergency calls would have to be made via landline. This could introduce great delays if somebody is injured out on a playground, on the outskirts of the school, or in a building without a phone line. Indeed, schools these days have far fewer landline phones due to the rise of the mobile phone. Plus, these are not accessible to students or visitors, either. It would be a tragedy for a student to suffer a medical emergency and not have help arrive in time because a jammer was blocking calls.

There are issues with the realities of jamming capability, too. Strong jamming will leak beyond school grounds and cause condemnation from surrounding residents. Meanwhile, if jamming is done conservatively, the jammers may not be effective at their job. Industrious teens with smartphones would readily find any jamming blackspots within days. In fact, you could likely map areas where jamming had failed by taking a drone up and plotting out clusters of disaffected teenagers.

Wait, What?

Curiously, there has been little talk of the specifics of the policy. However, one thing stands out: there has been talk of a proposal by a company referred to as “Educell” which has no visible online presence we could find. Speaking to media, NSW Labor Party leader Chris Minns also hinted that emerging technology could block students from making calls, texting, and using the internet, while allowing emergency access to those with medical conditions. If that is the case, that would require some kind of advanced cellular device within the school itself. It would have to force student phones across all networks to connect to it in place of existing conventional cell sites. Only then could it allow emergency calls while blocking other uses.

It seems unlikely such a device could fit within any school budget, nor gain the approval of network carriers to effectively pull a man-in-the-middle attack on their subscribers. It would also require a continually-updated white list to allow staff to use their devices while blocking those of students. Any visitors to the school would also be subject to blocking unless they had their number whitelisted as well. Alternatively, such a system could operate on a blacklist method, but then students could simply buy a new SIM card or provide the school with a fake number to avoid being subject to the restrictions.

Neither Hackaday nor the ACMA has seen detailed technical specifications on Educell’s tools. One suspects such flexible phone banning tools are more of a nice-to-have idea, rather than something that is readily practical with solutions available on the market.

Reality Check

In reality, the schools of NSW could instead follow the example of those in other states. Teachers have simply used their disciplinary authority to punish students for using their phones in class. Other schools have mandated that they remain in lockers during school hours, or in special Faraday cage-like pouches to ensure they’re non-operable. All these measures are far cheaper and simpler than implementing jammers. They also have zero effect on the surrounding community. Plus, they don’t stop staff, parents, and visitors from using their own phones for work purposes or in an emergency situation.

The proposal has quickly led to wild headlines comparing the treatment of students to prisoners. That, combined with the technical infeasibility of the proposal, may lead to this jammer policy getting quietly dropped for a more conventional ban on phones in schools. If not, though, expect the road towards school-based cell jamming to be a bumpy and uncomfortable one for everybody involved.

329 thoughts on “Plan To Jam Mobile Phones In Schools Is Madness

    1. Did you even read the article? They outline plenty of reasons that jamming the phones is a very bad idea. The rest of your comment is absurd as well…even if the idea you suggested wasn’t literally theft, the funds raised would be negligible compared to the effort involved to obtain them.

          1. Immediately going to pop psychology, very weak and effeminate.
            You need to be looking at the statistics about how these kids are fairing in social life and education. It’s not the same. Yes, every generation says that the next generation are lost, but this time it’s actually turning out to be true. Boy who cried wolf kind of situation. They are not having the same childhood as you or me. It’s very different.
            They are testing lower, the national IQ is dropping, standards for EVERYTHING are being reduced because not enough of them meet the standards (which will have immense tack-on effects—medicine? Infrastructure?), they never see friends in person, a sizeable plurality simply have zero friends, they don’t pursue young love. They never even leave parental supervision to exercise and grow their own abilities. Do you realize how these people will feel when they’ve grown up and realize that millions of childhoods have been stolen?

        1. Just because they use technology you don’t understand does not mean that any of what you claim happens. If you ignorantly think a phone is “Trash”, throw away your own. But leave the choice for others to do so, to them. Only they are informed enough about their own lives and situations to do so.

          As Steve alludes to, you are telling a lot about your own problems, and nothing about situations you have a willful ignorance of.

          1. We (geeks in general) understand the tech.

            We don’t understand kids preferring virtual to real life, even knowing that we spent a fair part of our youth in escapism. The ‘social network’ aspect of HS was what we escaped from, not to.

            No sane person would act like ‘they’ do. Echo chambers are boring, why does everybody seek them out? The net has enabled the weirdest of people to find each other (and have conventions). Sometimes amusing to the sick humored among us, but still.

            We also remember the hell that was middle school.
            ‘Eternal September…in 1st year of middle school’ is IMHO a fair description of the mobile phone social network ecosystem. It seems to empower the rottenest of kids, the ones that used to be said to have ‘peaked in HS’. Now they get stuck there, ruling their ‘clicks’ and festering.
            Which isn’t to say ‘they’ didn’t do similar when I was a kid, but they were just ignored, sure they ruled their frat, but nobody cared outside the circle jerk. (Have the ‘Ookie cookie’ type frats come out of the closet yet? There really should be one or more rainbow painted frats and sororities on every Greek row. Already there, but the paint!) I digress.

            Lifetime universal fingertip communication is a curse onto kids. Text was bad enough.

        2. Your point makes no sense:

          You need to be looking at the statistics about how these kids are fairing in social life and education. It’s not the same. Yes, every generation says that the next generation are lost, but this time it’s actually turning out to be true.

          You literally said that every generation says this. Also your generation is the exact same as gen alpha.

        1. You are intrinsically pushing for starter sponsored theft and destruction of property as well as restricting access to communication for minors. There are organic ways of dealing with these problems which cost nothing and result in a balanced social education.

          1. The proper solution, to the benefit of everyone, is simply to expel the disruptive students. Oh wait that would be racist right, we can’t discipline students anymore, we can’t even fail them when they can’t read, write, or add.

          2. Easy: if not expel them, at least deal with the problem ones individually and only the problem ones. So many of the comments seem to be from those who get their jollies from destroying things. censoring people. and greedily stealing students’ property. As if destruction and bullying is the end goal, instead of actually solving problems.

          3. I agree.

            It’s ‘theft’ if they confiscate kids (guns/homemade fireworks/kegs/bongs/pulse jets/pulse jet power bongs/real dolls) at school too. A nice AR can cost more than a new iPhone!

        2. Put your own phone in a shredder. But if you force someone else to put theirs in a shredder, it is only reasonable that you pay them a few thousand $ for a replacement phone and other inconveniences. Perhaps hundreds of thousands in fines, as each instance of this is a form of robbery and malicious destruction of property.

          1. Wow. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Way more than many more serious crimes and two orders of magnitude larger than the value of the phone. The idea of being separated from a phone seems to hit some folks extremely close to home.

            I think confiscation of phones is a bad idea, but it’s not THAT evil.

          1. It’s pretty cool though.

            Sure it’s not LOX on a fire or homemade fireworks, but good fun for HS kids.

            Could easily lead to an engineering career for kids witnessing (and later expanding on). Even the flunkouts could go on to be firefighters.

      1. The author is overwrought. You don’t use one huge jamer to cover the school. You use nice little ones on a room by room basis. They are not going to spill over into the surgery center next door.

        I taught high school in the US and the phones are a very destructive problem. In the beginning it was hard enough to get one away from a student (“Learner” is the proper term, mistakenly applied to all students today) at first but now they will fight a teacher over one. Or attack them later. The administrations quit backing up their own rules on this years ago. They also won’t accept kids you expel from the class. They just send them back and put the teacher in detention. So you teach in the direction of a group with a large percentage texting and watching Tiktok. Most teachers just move the learners to the front two rows. Then there are the ones who will not stop talking and I mean WILL NOT STOP who have IEPs that prevent the teacher from doing anything.

        In the end the evaluators just mark the teacher as lacking classroom management skills and send them to experts who tell them to put up a board with gold stars and reward good behavior – with high school students.

        Parents react to cell phone rules with “How do I tell them their dental appointment has been changed? Answering with “How did they do it when you were in school?” gets a blank stare. Personaly I would turn up the jamer until it melts the phones. Maybe it can kill all those horrible TI calculators as well.

        The author’s reaction is mystifying.

          1. Expensive? A room jammer is a $10 item. But the idea of a 5G station and WiFi controlled by the school that is throttle….nope. They turn their phones into hotspots or put a server in a back pack. I don’t an option beyond jamming except caging the rooms.
            This will only get more challenging. You can already ask ChatGPT to write an essay in the style of a B average 8th grader.

          2. Speaking from my professional experience, this wouldn’t cost nearly as much as you’d think. Identify specific rooms you want to disallow cellular usage in, install an antenna in that room. All of the antennas would be connected to a “DAS” with a single, or couple jammers. Adjust the power output of the jammer injecting noise into the DAS, use attenuation of antennas to fine tune.

            Bobs yer auntie.

          3. Clearly you lack actual experience in a recent MS/HS classroom. In the past 10 years as cellphones proliferated, attention spans have dropped precipitously. Its all but impossible to have lessons that are more engaging than scrolling through TicTok where an attention span of only a few seconds is required.
            This ‘blame the teacher/school’ attitude is a cop-out.

          4. Do you have experience teaching in a contemporary high school where rampant cell phone use is a major problem – except in your own classroom?

            How expensive is it to have a generation which has too few well educated people to maintain it’s technological society? I don’t think you realize the magnitude of the problem comedicles references, and the inadequacy of “Adequate oversight and engaged students” as a solution. It’s like saying we don’t need police any more because if we teach good communicaiton skills everybody will negotiate all disagreements peacefully – easy to string those words together as a “solution”, but not so easy to implement in the real world.

        1. I’m a teacher, and have taught in both the US and the UK. My career began more or less at the beginning of the smartphone era, so I’ve seen the change in how classrooms work as they have become more prevalent. It can be extremely challenging to teach students with access to smartphones. It means your lesson is competing with the students’ ability to check in with whatever aspect of their lives they are finding most interesting at that moment. On the other hand, as adults, we don’t lock ourselves in information-poor rooms when we want to learn or work, so we shouldn’t ask young people to do this either. Schools will eventually get better at this, and I suspect that there will be some combination of phone lockers, reward / punishment schemes and figuring out how to incoroporate these technologies into lessons. I am sure that jamming will never be part of the solution. I am even more sure that stamping our feet, judging young people, and being angry that “we didn’t do this when I was in school” only makes it worse.

          1. I have worn an IT hat.

            I guarantee you that adult work time web behavior changes when you let them know they are being monitored. Not for everyone, but for most.

            Many businesses that employ adults used to block time waster web sites. It was a pain in the ass to maintain a blacklist, but ‘adult children’. Also occasional ‘Ghaa, my eyes’ moments. You DON’T want to know your coworkers kinks. Seriously, the bible thumpers were the worst by far. Then again, I didn’t dare look at some folders. I can’t say the bible thumpers were worse than the flamers, no data.

            I understand they don’t bother anymore. Only a fool would waste time on the work computer when they can use their phone with impunity.

            Managers gotta manage and teachers gotta teach. Sucks for the shitty ones.

            Jamming will likely be part of the solution. But for technical reasons they will need to build a new generation of faraday cage schoolrooms, passive jamming not active with a whitelisted active passthrough. Signal in halls, not classrooms. Likely start with ‘rotten kid’ classes being moved to basement rooms with no signal.

            On the other hand the modern public school discipline system here in California is just to put the rotten kids into ‘homeschooling’. Then graduate their illiterate/innumerate asses with ‘perfect attendance’. Feds are getting what they manage for, same as everyone. All metrics are gamed.

        2. What you describe is a society problem, with everybody denying its responsability and relying on the sole teacher. Jamming wont change that. It may solve the phone problem (until somebody finds the jammer and destroy it or hack it), but it won’t make the learner any more respectful, nor the administration and society more responsible.

          I’m amazed at how we, humans, are good at designing over-engineered solutions to simple problems when it involves changing a bad behavior.

          1. Exactly this. This is not a phone problem. This is a much deeper problem, and banning/jamming phones will have zero effect on that. Even if it did work, what happens when these young adults finish school and are allowed to use phones again? The entire point of education is to prepare the students for their adult life.

        3. Amazing how Americans tend to take the behavior of the population they’re dealing with as a threshold for normal behavior. Or at least that’s what you imply in your reaction. You describe a totally out of control situation. With kids that apparently have zero manners and parents that are maybe even worse.

          In my world you talk to the parents collect their concerns and obviously your “problem” can be tacked easily by providing a teachers phone number or a dean that can walk into a class if a kids dental appointment is rescheduled…

          I see numerous solutions to the situations you describe while you choose to restrict and not educate (on manners etc)

          What;’s next… you will strap their hands to the table? It would work right?

          I doubt however you will create civil human beings… monsters.

          Anyways what you describe IS monstrous.. sorry you had to teach in that situation.

          1. It is definitely a cultural and a school problem. Administrations that will not enforce their own rules just hang the teachers out. Teachers get stuck in the middle. You can not touch a student or physically take a phone, or any other item. Students know this. There too many parents who threaten to bring in lawyers or will not meet with teachers. Students who simply refuse to the point that security has to drag them from a class. In my experience these are all directly related to the kind of school principal and vary form school to school. It seems that school with leadership who want very much to be liked by students slide easily into lawlessness unless their student population is very well behaved at home. Schools with leadership who back up teachers and apply rules fairly excel academically. The tone is set in the first 2 weeks of school. It is very hard to reverse if the tone is set later after there are difficulties.

        4. This is why your students don’t learn. You are more interested in control than education and it shows.

          Perhaps is schools were populated and administered by people like that, the children wouldn’t need to rebel against the prison you keep them in.

          1. As long as teachers are grossly overpaid and the bad ones can’t be fired, you will get those doing a terrible job “blaming the phones”. But if you took away the phones, the bad teachers would still be ineffective. Maybe then the enemy would be calculators or pencils. or letting students sit during class. Anything but deal with the root of the problem.

          2. Yes, it is a prison. I personally do not believe school should be mandatory. But in the real world there is a huge investment in producing literate and numerate people who can navigate a modern civilization and hopefully thrive and be part of producing prosperity. What we are talking about here though it has not been stated is how to deal with 5 to 10% of a class who are disrupting. Many classes require real concentration from learning a language to pre-calculus.

        5. If you don’t like a phone, don’t use it. Problem entirely solved.

          I fully expect these censorship devices to be destroyed, lost, or hacked within days so they are useless.

          1. A more industrious/ambitious actor might, wearing gloves, drop them in a faraday bag. Then leave them somewhere they’re not supposed to be. Fingerprint evidence will implicate the school administration or the jammer vendor for why cell phones are being jammed in the park, police station, and phone store. Or glued to the undercarriage of teacher’s cars. A vehicle that regularly visits a military base would start the real fireworks.

            Can’t be bothered looking up Aussie laws on the topic. But there’s a damn good reason the FCC doesn’t make exceptions for “no jamming”. Jamming /anti-jamming is an escalation game. And allowing it anywhere means you should expect it to show up everywhere, and quickly radio communications become useless.

          2. When jammers are outlawed, only outlaws will have jammers.

            Mine is currently obsolete (it’s more the click to drop all calls within 100 meters type, like I said obsolete).
            Is there already a modern cell jammer project up? Somebody got a link?

            Uncle Charlie doesn’t have a fearsome rep. Do overseas FCC equivalates have any balls?

        6. Amazing you are a teacher or a modern person at all. A luddite who demands violence and censorship. You want to destroy what you don’t understand. Why not “turn up the jamer” until you burn all the pencils and paper? It’s not school unless they are doing nothing but beating rocks together, right?

          Just ignore that which you do not understand and prefer, and the problem goes away. If you want to rage and bellow and gnash your teeth because parents need to be able to give students updates about changed dental appointments, go bellow for a few minutes in a soundproof closet.

          1. You should try it. Maybe you are the exemplar the Ed schools need. In case you never noticed, there are landline phones in every room for the teachers. Parents can reach students at any time they wish and vice-versa.

        7. If teachers cannot control their classes, send that back to teacher training?
          Phones are essential tools, and kids should be educated on sensible use. I remember my school banning calculators- until they woke up and realised these could not be un-invented!

    2. No, there is no need for technology for something like this. This is a social authority and respect problem. Doesn’t make sense to put money into tech the kids will get around. And then you’re gonna upgrade the jammers every 3 years?

      Take the kids’ phone away for a bit. It’s like you making due without a car for a week.

          1. The schools are burdened with burdensome children who should have been permanently expelled by age 8. I’m all for getting rid of those, but if we’re going to pretend that we can turn them into doctors and lawyers then the next best option is jamming their cell phones.

          1. You’re gonna have cops search the pockets and backpacks of hundreds of kids, every day? Have a TSA checkpoint at the entryway with an hour-long line to wait in? Waste of time, just jam the phones.

    3. “Makes sense to me. Jam those phones. Or confiscate them and sell them on Ebay and use the funds to improve education.”

      Internet access is a human right by now.
      A smartphone also is a communication device.

      Taking away such a device is like cutting someone’s landline or isolating a person.
      It’s equals solitary confinement.

      Especially if people are somewhat used to communication, they can’t immediately be “disconnected”. This may result in a psychological shock, in a form of anxiety. In these days, I mean. Some young people are literally gown up with a cell phone, they’re lost without one. As exaggerated as this may sound.

      See what I mean? This is a questionable move, thus. Humans have a need for socal contacts. It’s their right, even.
      So it’s not okay to to take them their communication devices away – their only means of getting in touch with friends and families.

      Yes, you heard me. Their only means. It’s nolonger the 1990s. We can’t turn back time.

      Other forms of communication are nolonger as widely available as they used to. They’ve died out.

      Stationary telephones are rare and/or locked away. Public telephone booths are gone. Some homes don’t even have a landline anymore.

      PCs and E-Mail are also no longer being popular. Some people solely rely on smartphones and instand messengers, do have a cheap laptop at best.

      Pagers had been phased out, too.

      The telefax had become a niche, in the 1990s by comparison, families had their own shiney new fax devices at home sometimes.

      CB radio nolonger is a common thing, either.
      In the 90s, it was still widely popular worldwide. You could call for help and someone would hear you.

      My apologies for my poor English.

        1. I don’t know. At least not straight away.

          But I’ve been in such a “safe place”, too when I was visiting my unconscious father in hospital.

          I tried to contact the rest of my family via cell phone, to tell them how he is, but the walls of the hospital blocked all cellphone signals.

          My family was in panic, too, because they couldn’t reach me.

          This was a very uncomfortable situation, in a “safe place”. They had no freely accessible telephones on the place, too.

          You had to find staff people and ask them. But they were all busy. Running away from you.

          In the end, I climbed on a chair on a wall down the floor, which had a window. With my hand raised up to the ceiling to get a signal.

          And this was less than 2 years ago.

          1. OMG. how did people run their own lives and use technology according to their own needs before Dave came along to dictate his own preferences upon others?

            It’s clear that you have no understanding of modern technology. Your “I don’t understand it, so no one should have it” attitude is quite clear.

            Just ignore it when people act according to their own needs and it is different from yours. Problem entirely solved

        2. It doesn’t. I’m in complete agreement that smartphones, but more specifically social media apps, 100% do not belong in the school. Allow stidents to have dumbphones for emergency calls, I guess, but tik tok/Snapchat/Instagram, no way.

          1. Spoken by someone who wants to censor and destroy something they don’t understand. I think it’s clear what really doesn’t belong in schools: thieves and censors

        3. Also, what in “safe environment”?

          Ultimately, if you create an environment where children can not call for help, you are creating an environment which is safe for predators to victimize children.

          1. You know, we used to go to the office, and call from there.

            Was there a news item I missed, where a kid was victimized by a predator in class and needed a cell phone?

          2. @DoubleFacePalm
            Assuming you use the internet, search for: Uvalde call for help
            There are plenty of others as well.

            At a guess I’d say you don’t have kids. Or you have some blind spots with regard to security.

            Yeah, I should have had caffeine before posting.

          3. Rubbish. Mobiles don’t stop predators. How do we know? Everyone has mobiles, but we still have predators.

            The far bigger issue is kids accessing and sharing inappropriate material, and cyber bullying.

          4. My last reply reply seems to have been deleted…

            Search for: Uvalde calls
            Plenty of other examples as well.

            Yeah, should have had more caffeine before posting.

            Not sure what you’re reading into my comment, but I didn’t say “Mobiles” stop predators. Just that removing a child’s access to call for help creates a situation that is beneficial to predators. Side note, I also agree with your statement about cyber bullying and inappropriate material.

          5. Think you’re pick an extreme case here?
            Then at least separate the student from the phone within the classroom (box).
            Don’t see that you gave us your solution.

          6. @DoubleFacePalm
            Funny, I was looking for another case, but the one I cited just happened to dominate the first few pages of search results and I’m really under no obligation to search the web on your behalf. Also, try searches containing ‘teacher locked kid up” or something like that.

            > Don’t see that you gave us your solution.
            There is no mandate that requires somebody to completely solve a problem before being allowed to identify flaws in other proposed solutions…

            At my kids’ school cellphones are allowed, but not for use during school time. Use it during school time and your parents have to pick it up later. This seems to work well, kids don’t want to loose their phones and don’t use them during class.

            Another part of the solution should involve the parents. Particularly educating them on the risks of apps (Tiktok, IG, FB, etc) and information access. I.e. if you are not paying for it you are the product and such…

          7. Most of the predators in a school are the other children.
            The ones that the teachers cant or wont deal with.
            The ones with “behavioural issues”.

            It’s very much a cultural problem. A generation of parents that wont ever take responsibility for their kids, but will attack anyone that comments about their feral nature and argue with authority at every opportunity just to rebel because they wont themselves accept reasonable curtailment of their selfishness.

            Many of them exisit only to try to get as much out of life for free as they can.
            There is a growing number of 4/5yr olds starting school who are not even toilet trained. Many cannot talk correctly or have social/empathy issues as they’ve spent their formative years with no parental input; just been given a screen to watch.

            They are going to turn into monsters. If they are not already.

          8. @DoubleFacePalm

            Is it really your business if they want to make the necessary call themself, instead of going to the office to do so?

            You are creating “problems” where none exist, and are making a great case that these cell phone restrictions have no basis in reason.

          9. @DoubleFacePalm “Then at least separate the student from the phone within the classroom”

            Only if they choose to put it in a box. If not, you are encouraging robbery (more real victims). Thank you for a solution in which you demand violent crime (of which robbery is one instance)..

            Why not simply ignore the phones? It solves the problem entirely. The censorship and acts of violence you demand are nothing but brutal.

          10. S O you need to visit a school. Of course they have landline (or IP) phones in the rooms. Do you think teachers dial the office on their cell? Do you think insurance companies will allow otherwise? And boxing a kid’s phone for a day isn’t robbery if it is in the regulations the parents sign off for when they register their children. Do you think it is robbery to do this in a courthouse? You should read your state’s laws on the rights of teachers regarding classroom control and the responsibilities of students. If they were ever enforced we would be producing graduates with a vocabulary like Russel Brand and the depth of an education in England.

            Life is hard. Leaning is not guaranteed to be fun. Students should be hungry all the time from the calories being burned by their brains. We invest a small fortune in every one of them for free. Don’t get me wrong, I hated school but I wish I had embraced it. The teen years can really suck.

        4. “school is a horrible place to grow up now.”

          In my state the gov. has pulled more and more of the “public” school
          funds and given it to “Charter” schools. It is destroying the public school
          system…. and most seem blind to it?!?!?! WTF folks?

        5. @Thom: Charter schools *are* public schools. Charter programs are expanding the public school system, not destroying it.

          What is destroying the traditional public schools? Grossly overpaid teachers doing a terrible job, to the point that parents demand better public school options like charter schools.

          I am not “blind” to the fact that giving parents options for good schools is improving education, not destroying it.

      1. “it´s equal to solitary confinment”. Sure. in a classroom. Let me guess, you´re the one [] i**ot who is making calls at the theater ?

        Well, the students still can morse code with their nails on the table, make semaphores with pens, never underestimate their creativity.

        A teaching experience could ground you dramatically. Try!

          1. That is really done any more, schools are underfunded and cut things like dedicated lines. On the of chance it still exists it can’t be used to directly dial out.

      2. “Internet access is a human right by now.”

        At the rate humanity is going soon everything will “be a right” if for no other reason it renders it unchallengable in any debate.

        1. Ship sailed.

          Basically ‘everything is a right’ if you ask insane enough people, many of who are in the UN general assembly. One vote per nation is pretty insane. Thank dog they can’t vote themselves money or anything binding.

      3. Taking away their ONLY form of communication??, Oh come on…you mean talking face to face with fellow classmates and teachers is not social interaction?? what planet are you from?
        It’s why they are in school, to learn and interact with other humans, not to check Facebook/Twitter/TikToc etc for 8 hours in a corner somewhere

        1. People need to communicate in ways that you don’t understand and want to censor.

          Just stop the bullying and censorship. If someone uses a phone and you don’t like it, ignore it. Problem entirely solved.

          1. “People need to communicate in ways that you don’t understand”

            You apparently don’t believe people with different conclusions are even *human*!

            But it is a weak argument. If a way of communicating is commonly unknown to people who themselves went to school, and perhaps even have an advanced degree, then it is clearly not a necessary element of the school environment.

            Educational outcomes in schools have not drastically gone up recently. In many areas, competency is going down, not up. So the idea that some contemporary difference is necessary is specious.

            All the over-wrought nonsense isn’t going to prevent these policies, it’s more likely to increase support for them. I started thinking, this is possibly ridiculous, depending on the actual implementation, but it addresses a real problem. After reading the comments I see, the phones are a worse rot than I realized. Perhaps school is the only place in childrens lives where they might be forced to stop using the screen, and communicate directly with other human beings.

      4. My high school kids have school issued Chromebooks. All necessary communication can be received through school moderated delivery channels (email, classroom bulletin boards, student home page, etc)

        I vote jam the cell phones.

    4. unfortunately “improve education” means giving all the staff raises. im still angry about not being able to use the cnc machine shop we had in our school but they never let anyone use because nobody wanted to take responsibility for the machines, or the kids. they should use the phone thing to teach responsibility and self discipline. allow the phones, and punish harshly anyone who uses them inappropriately.

      1. They administrations gave up on punishing for phone uses years ago. The only thing that can work is no-phones at school. Teachers all have a regular phone on their desk or wall. Emergencies can be handled without students flooding the phone system. They can also quit recording other students and teachers and putting them online, which is against the law anyway.

        If you make the teacher responsible for taking phones, they get doxed and cancelled and potentially beaten into brain damage.

        You kinda drive off into the weeds when the subject of school comes up.

          1. It is OK with me, like an all day physics, chemistry, and math live stream. And parents can tune in and see what their kids are learning and the teacher is teaching. But recording and posting minors is not legal.

          2. I actually agree with that. Having been hired as a waterpolo coach I was always leary about potential false allegations, and I in-fact turned down the same position coaching the girls team due to the potential risk to me. Kids are trusted more than teachers. With a video camera the truth would come out in any situation.

      2. No, if you were serious about it you’d start by dozing all the ed schools and shooting all the ed school profs into the sun.

        Then you would have to offer better wages to new prospective teachers. The old teachers are 90% the bottom of the educational barrel (the other 10% just love kids).

        Teachers in the USA like to talk about Norwegian teacher salaries. What they don’t get is _they_ wouldn’t be allowed to teach there. They’d have never made it into the teacher training programs (which require med student like tests, grades and attitudes).

        Expect: A teacher bragging on getting a 4.0 in an American Ed School. Just like all the rest of the Ed students. Ed schools consistently hand out the highest average GPAs, by far.

        1. Can I drive the dozer? Ed school philosophy and idiocy goes back to Dewey, who wanted to “create a new generation unrecognizable by their parents” over 100 years ago.Teachers are ridiculously underpaid, particularly given their responsibilities. Starting salaries are very low, hours for most are long. Advancement requires a 5th year of college and ongoing “clock hour” classes and seminars on weekends. It truly sucks. 70% of new American teachers quite the field within 3 years due to money and the work environment.

  1. If a student has an actual need for a phone (medical, …) get approval from office.

    Other than that, if caught using in class:
    “You can pick your phone up at the office when you leave Friday.”

    So simple.

          1. @DoubleFacePalm “Equip the teachers with EMP guns”

            Entirely unnecessary and unjustified. The students, however, would be justified in smashing these guns. Then it is a pure waste of money.

        1. Yes, let’s make even more useless laws that intrude into people’s private lives.
          Phones are incredibly personal belongings, akin to wedding rings though with another meaning.

          1. Your genitalia are very personal thing to you. And in most places in the world if you play with them in public, you can end up with a fine, or even in jail.

            When students play with their phones during class, they are not only disruptive to other students, they’re also disrespectful to their classmates and to the teacher. So I’m actually okay with confiscating their phones, at least until the end of class, and then suspending them for a week or longer. Repeat offenders should be completely removed from the list of students – if they don’t care to be educated, why anyone else should bother with them?

          2. Urgon made the false statement: “When students play with their phones during class, they are not only disruptive”

            What if they are muted? Then there is no disruption. You are imagining a problem that does not exist. Kids can’t make a lot of noise or play loud radios in class already.

            “So I’m actually okay with confiscating their phones”

            That’s robbery, which is a violent crime. You are really quite extreme.

            Just ignore the imaginary problem you seem to be conjuring. and everything will be fine.

          3. S O the main philosophy of teaching today is group cooperative study. A student playing with a phone is disturbing the group or not doing their part of the work. They are disrespecting their classmates and perverting the education process in the class. One result is the rest of the team will just ignore the phone user and excluded them from the work. One purpose of the approach is bringing people together to work as a team and that requires everyone to be engaged. (It is a bad idea that only works for singing and calisthenics, but we are stuck with it.)

    1. “So simple.”

      Except that it violates citizen rights.
      At least here in parts of Europe, not sure how advanced Australia is. Maybe it’s as weird as the US, not sure.

      Teachers who are taking away student’s property are commiting robbery/theft, AFAIK.

      Likewise, it’s a coercion if a teacher doesn’t allow students to go to toilet when they ask for permission. Here in parts of Europe, at least.

      Oh, and it’s no longer okay to physically punish students/pupils. Or children.

      1. No doubt, it seems that most countries have made it harder for teacher’s to do their job easily and effectively.

        A teacher’s job is clear. A students job is clear. Anything that disrupts the teacher from teaching, or the student from learning, is a problem. If the student won’t give permission to have the phone confiscated, kick him out of class, and make the parents pick him up.

        Any laws that prevent this, are dumb.

        1. You’re assuming it’s the students fault, but maybe they’re just the victims of society or incompetent parents?

          There’s a reason why law makes a difference between young people and adults.

          Young people are still developing. Their brains aren’t fully evolved yet, they do suffer from puberty etc.

          Getting them under control through force and fear is not the best idea, maybe.

          Why not use inverse psychology and try to make class interesting and fun to students? Try to make them to want to learn? Countries like Sweden seem to be successful, or so I heard.

          1. Please, I would love to hear how you make Multivariable Calc interesting :eyeroll: some stuff *isnt* interesting, and can’t be made interesting.

            Fluid dynamics tried by doing calcs on a beerbong… but calcs are still calcs.

          2. Just to be clear, I grew up in Europe. I had great teachers. But it was understood by students, teachers, and parents, what everyone’s role was. And, what the goal was. Things that were disruptive, didn’t happen. Teacher were judge and jury in their court. We survived.

            Re: ” Their brains aren’t fully evolved yet ..”
            Right, they need to learn self-discipline. ‘Sacrifice’. ‘Pain’. If their parents can’t teach this, at least let the schools do it. How fragile have we made our kids, when they can’t stay off their phone for an hour, without convulsing. None of our teachers or parents would allow this. A big problem is that these students have just as addicted phone-crack-head parents.

            Re: “Getting them under control through force and fear is not the best idea, maybe.”
            Come on. Setting boundaries is not instilling force or fear.

            Re: .”..Sweden…”
            I can’t imagine being motivated to make class fun, when there are needless disruptions. Do the Swedish schools allow phone use during class?

            The truth is, kids like to goof off – Phone’s are more fun than History! Like to be cool – Ooh, can’t catch me using the phone, haha!

            Any kid that is truly traumatized by phone separation needs help.
            No need to bring down the quality of education.

          3. In my country (Poland), teachers, principals and other parents are powerless if one student causes problems in class, and his/hers parents or guardians don’t give a flying duck. Just few days ago a kid in 2nd grade attacked a lifeguard on pool during swimming class and scratched her badly, police had to intervene. Still, no way to remove him from the class (this wasn’t the first incident), nor to make his parents do something.

            In other polish school there is a kid with some mental disability which makes him aggressive, unteachable in normal school and impossible to control. To the point that he attacked a classmate and three male teachers had to hold him. Other students are afraid to go to the school. The kid needs help in more specialized school which is equipped to provide help and support he needs. But his grandparents who are his guardians are of the opinion that special schools are for (a slur that starts with r), so they won’t transfer him. And school is powerless to do anything.

            If any of my kids becomes a victim of a bully, who can’t be stopped because school has no power and parents don’t care about their, should I equip mine with educational crowbar or pipe wrench, because I don’t care about their kid, neither?

            Freedom doesn’t work without responsibility and enforcement of the laws that govern our society.

        2. Phones aren’t as big an issue or distraction as you make them out to be, they are generally only distracting to the person using them and are a lot less distracting than other things that kids may do when they are bored.

          Phones are used a lot in the classroom for learning or completing assignments as well, they have benefits too.

          If it wasn’t going on their phone then the kids would find something else to do because they are bored.

          When I was at school people weren’t on their phones much and the teachers could deal with it by just telling them to stop or making them put their phone at the front of the class, if they refused or continued to do it then it was taken further and their parents were contacted or they got detention.

          Like it or not phones and the internet are big parts of everyday life now, with a lot of uses, some good and some not so good, banning them completely in schools is not a good solution and won’t really fix anything. Some schools are even giving Chromebooks or tablets to their students to help with their education, so it is actually moving to using technology and the internet more than it is now.

          Laws that give teachers the ability to confiscate student property or punish them are dumb, laws like that will be abused and even without them teachers still abuse their power sometimes, they are human too. All they are likely to do is create unnecessary conflict between students, parents and teachers. I got my first phone incase the bus was late or didn’t come or plans changed, if that was confiscated my parents would have been furious. It really isn’t any teachers business or right to take a students property off of them, in a lot of places it is classed as stealing, as it should be.

      2. This isn’t really relevant, but I wanted to point out that in Texas (where I live), corporal punishment is still legal. Most school districts have policies against it, but still…

      3. The student’s property is a non-issue. These things are spell-out out in papers signed by parents when they enroll children. There a laws in every state that clearly state the rights and responsibilities of teacher and student. Anyone with children should read them. If only 25% were enforced the schools would be fantastic. Districts fear legal action by parents anyway. Even winning a case costs a lot of money. Districts and the unions will give a teacher who is in the right no support of the politics don’t look good. So teachers are stuck in the middle.

        1. Many medical devices, specifically in mind are some CGMs, use cell phones to notify parents of their kid’s glucose levels. If you take away cell service, you take away their safety net.

          Blocking a cell signal is a dumb solution to their problems. Might as well get rid of cars to end drunk driving.

    2. There are those cell phone signal amplifiers for the places that have poor reception. The cheaper ones only amplify GSM signals, not data… beeing much stronger the the tower, the phones would automatically use it…
      You need no lists, and every emergency call gets trough. The teachers and staff can get internet on school wi-fi…
      I don’t think a student would actually talk during classes…

  2. I would have thought that having class attendees place their ‘labeled’ turned off phones in a closed but reachable location would be the best of all worlds. The kids are not dumb they just have to learn restraint. Making an excuse that the parents could not reach the student is ridiculous. The school should have phones and several persons who sit near or monitor the office phones. If you want to speak to your child, call the school and ask them to fetch the child and bring them to the office or allow the child to retrieve their phone from the crib and go outside the classroom to call.
    I am a US Ex pat Brit, born in 1942. We did not have cell phones back then. If you needed to call a parent to pick you up or take you somewhere the school bus was not going, you went to the school office to make the call, even in a Secondary Modern (High School) with 1,000 students.


    1. When I was a kid, my parents could call the school, and school could call them if there was a need. In emergency students could use a phone in one of the offices, and later there was a public phone in the dorm part of the school. Now one of my kids is in preschool and I can call her teacher, because she has phone numbers to all parents, and all parents have hers…

      1. Yes that is because your child is in preschool, why would they even have a phone in preschool? When the child is older and doesn’t have one set teacher and has more going on in their lives then you may see a need for a phone.

    2. Phoning the school every time, with every bit of information for every pupil just isn’t feasible especially when phones aren’t as big an issue as people seem to think.

    3. And when students refuse? (Maybe they read HaD comments and found out they are in prison and it is theft and the teacher is incompetent and the school will be overrun by machine gun wielding incels if they don’t have their phones.)

  3. Is there a reason you can’t just check the phone into a cubby at the door or bin in front of the desk something? Putting aside the argument if this *should happen, if they decide it will happen and get everyone to sign off on it, def agree jamming is about the dumbest way to go about it.
    In these circumstances “follow the buck” reins supreme. What shadow contractor /tech company full of promises is set to make a ton of cash off this, and how do they “support” elected officials?
    That’s the real story.

      1. His rule suggestion is heavy handed but I like it. You’d have to implement this across the whole school NOT on an individual level. Teachers need some authority to confiscate phones during school hours too.

        “Why would the kids give up their phones?”
        because they’re required to in order to enter the class room / start class / whatever.

        “why couldn’t they just get their phone back in the middle of class and start using it?”
        Students can’t walk out in the middle of class, right? Teachers have SOME control of students?
        They’d have to physically get up and grab the phone. They could be seen and reprimanded. If the teachers are toothless then just drop this idea …

        The big problem in school seems to be that every child has a phone, AND the phones are full of quick access dopamine, AND teachers can’t confiscate them individually (for whatever reason). A blanket rule like “keep your phone in the cubby” or “keep your phone in the locker” or “jam the phones” should be effective without over-burdening the teachers. Then if ONE kid is breaking the rules he’s the odd one out and can be handled easier.

        I think we should avoid confiscation by armed security though … that’s how they treat the 5-time expelled kids who were sent to the bad school. Better if we teach them patience and how to wrangle their own attention spans. I know how distracting and addicting crap like TikTok is, it’s detrimental, it shouldn’t be ignored.

  4. Typical misguided, kneejerk reaction from a local government authority, albeit one on the other side of the planet. They never think these things through properly. Away from jamming, I believe those faraday pouches are available at your favourite online retailers for quite reasonable prices. That would be the way to go, or confiscate the thing if the student is caught using it. If they are repeatedly caught, parents involved and an outright ban from having the device anywhere on school property with no exceptions.
    There are reasons jammers are illegal to sell or use in many jurisdictions around the world and this article outlines them perfectly.

    1. The way it worked when I was at school was the student was first asked to put it away, if they continued they would be asked to put it on the teachers desk and would get it back at the end of class, if they refused that then they were sent to the office. It isn’t exactly rocket science. In the later years of school we were allowed to use our phones in class more for learning. People using their phones in class was only distracting to the people using their phones and the teachers could deal with it without needing hammers or confiscating everyone’s phones, etc.

  5. How do you allow staff and emergency access but block kids?

    Two obvious ideas –

    Is it possible to block newer stuff like 4/5g but allow frequencies for basic voice calls? The issue is probably kids online rather than making voice calls, so even limiting them to slower internet access will make it frustrating enough to watch TikTok.

    Block mobiles but allow Wi-Fi. Staff will be on Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi calls are pretty standard these days.

    I’d imagine something along these lines might be possible.

    However, none of this deals with internet less gaming, which is likely still annoying for teachers.

    Furthermore, there’s often a disconnect between official school rules, e.g. my kids’ school: (don’t bring a mobile or if you do leave it at reception for the day) vs the teachers in practice (ok class, get your mobiles out and go to this URL for the quiz)

    1. Voice calls in most places are now VoLTE or VoNR, aka Voice over data like sip. No way to just block phone data while allowing voice calls. Sure you could control wifi, but they can always hop off and use cellular.

      And idea might be to put wire mesh in classroom wall (aka faraday cage) so they have to connect to wifi, which you can control.

    2. Really? Emergency Access? I don’t recall this being a problem back in the 80s when I was in school. Now, seems like people are treating the cell phone as a mandatory item or a ‘need’ to have. It isn’t. Weird world we are living in.

      I say, just check your phone at the door, and you get it back as you check out. Simple. Or don’t allow kids to bring them to school in the first place!!! Again we didn’t them as kids, why do today’s kids? Again strange world we are living in today.

        1. ironically, teachers at my school tell us students to stay off our phones in the event of a shooting to minimize the wireless signals so as not to interfere with the emergency responders comms…

          1. This is strange to me as emergency responder communications are on their own radio system with their own frequencies. Possibly a trunked system with or without encryption enabled.

      1. Some need it. Some do not. *Your* preferences and needs only apply to yourself. Not others. You are coming across as being a sort of luddite, and not knowing or caring about the needs of others.

        Check your phone at the door if you want. Or don’t, if you don’t want. Problem entirely solved.

        “Again we didn’t them as kids, why do today’s kids?”

        Best question to ask instead is why you ignorantly want to impose your own preferences and limitations on others like this. Just “butt out”.

        1. No. Your premise relies entirely on school being a choice. It isn’t. Kids going to school is a law. Phones going in a box could easily be a condition of attendance. Try as you might you have not yet brought up a valid reason why everyone *needs* a phone at school and instead you resort to insults.

      2. You do realise times change, right? Not everything has to stay the same as when you were in school. Some schools are even giving students Chromebooks or tablets to help with their learning and when I was at school, in the later years phones were used quite a lot for learning and weren’t much of a problem.

    3. What? I mean, what? Teachers have these things on their desks or wall with wires to a handset and a touch-tone pad. That main part also has wires that go to the phone company or cable stuff near the offices. They can use these things to call anybody or get calls. Maybe it is something new?

  6. My prediction: Wifi repeater nearby, about $35 and some online tutorials. Teens back online, school won’t jam Wifi. Politicians quietly bury the whole thing and won’t admit their hubris wasted time and money.

    1. Yeah jamming the signals won’t make much of a difference, they will always find a way. At my school any device plugged into an ethernet port (there were hundreds around the school) got onto the internet without having to go through their WiFi login page thing, just plug a router or extender into that and you will have WiFi.

  7. I don’t think a controlled jammer output in the right places is the end of the world – your contractor/teacher/parent etc will be able to know and adapt to any limitation. Presumably the workers on site get wifi-calling set up or something. However surely the simple and less problematic solution is to just put up a 5G antenna or two on the school grounds so it becomes the default high signal connection and then throttle the buggery out of that link in class time…

    For folks passing through they won’t actually be cut off. But while the kids have the device they can not effectively get their desired use out of it (maybe even copy the school in on which numbers are in use – it is a small invasion of privacy for the child BUT at the same time the school are responsible for them while they are on the grounds. Making it arguably part of their job to invade the child’s privacy for their own good). And being 5G the range the signal travels is crummy in the first place so there will be other antenna nearby that anybody off the school grounds should end up on that operates normally…

    1. that actually sound like a smart idea. register IMEI and MAC of all the students phone and program all the local antennas to ignore those during classroom time. no interference for anyone outside of students….

      1. That won’t work.
        Students can then just acquire e-sims or swap sims thus invalidating that measure. I’d be willing to even buy one for my kids. dual sim phones while not as common in the US also still exist too.
        I’m surprised honestly that nobody bothers mentioning how the FCC would take this whole jamming thing. They’d probably fine the administrators/policymakers responsible although I’d hope they’d give them some jail time too for using taxpayer money to fund illegal/criminal activities. They don’t grant any exemptions for any circumstances like this and they do hunt rogue operators of these devices.

        1. I agree the sim/e-sim swap would make that idea only workable the other way around – you need the right registered credentials to be allowed to connect at normal speeds.

          However what the FCC or any other official enforcement body for RF globally would do isn’t set in stone – rules change, exemptions are granted and it really matters which individual at these organisations has to start sorting out an investigation/license as to the results…

    2. This is an eloquent solution that has multiple advantages.

      As you stated the student’s phones will default to the 5G connection which can sort and throttle by MAC. Hell even offer the students free WiFi while on the grounds for education purposes and emergencies only. Social media and streaming access is limited to breaks and lunch time via firewall controls.

      Require an app that’s controlled by the school to make a connection to the networks. Instead of jamming, relatively crude Faraday cages or paints can be applied to the rooms to make it more difficult to contact outside networks. Give the app a panic button so students can identify threats or emergencies like fights or medical episodes similar to Wayz reporting speed traps and collisions.

      Parents can register with the networks as well so they can log in to make sure their kid is at school. During emergencies admins can get a quick head count of who is and isn’t connected to the networks and their likely location. The network could also track new and unknown devices while their inside in boundaries. So intruders like people with restraining orders can be tracked if they make it onto school grounds and first responders can locate them.

      1. More surveillance isn’t always a good thing.

        You can get round school WiFi restrictions too, when I was at school just about everyone used a vpn to do it.

        The problem here isn’t the phones themselves, it is the students and teachers.

        1. A VPN service only does you any good if the network you are connected to will actually allow such traffic to pass. For a school the easy thing to do is just deny all connection off the campus for whatever hours you set or until the teacher lets that specific Wi-Fi node access the the outside world, so the kids can’t even connect to the VPN provider.

        2. It’s less about surveillance than controlling the data stream and access. Kids are smart and there will always be several that are clever enough to get around security measures. I certainly abused the hell out of our school’s T1 connections in the late 90s and early 00s with Napster, mIRC, and bit torrent before the IT admin caught on. Were I the principal I would reward the clever ones and put them on a fast track to a career in ethical hacking and cyber security.

          Anyway, the school is ultimately responsible (legally speaking) for the safety and security of the students while they’re on school grounds. With the rise in cyber bullying, child predation online, streaming as a get-famous-quick scheme, and all the other vectors used to exploit minors… I would want to cover my ass as much as possible if I were acting as an ISP.

  8. RF jamming is a terrible idea for all the reasons mentioned here, but I’m 100% in agreement that kids should not be using smartphones in school, period. If a parent really really needs to have a way to get in touch with their kid during school hours, well they still make dumbphones.

    1. Yeah, like we did. Parent calls the principal office which then someone goes down and either talks with the teacher, or gives him/her a note if that ‘important’. Simple.

    2. Except things change and a lot of schools now use phones, tablets and laptops as part of teaching. They are everywhere in everyday life so why shouldn’t they be in schools?

      1. My schools have had computers and laptops but that didn’t make personal phone use acceptable. I don’t know what it’s like now. Do teachers ask students to look things up on their phone?

  9. When I was in high school, no cellphones existed. Not much in the way of computers.

    “Need” doesn’t exist until something creates it.

    I’ve never had a cellphone.

    1. Only reason I have a cell phone, is my company gave me one because of the nature of the job. Otherwise I wouldn’t have one either. When I retire, that is one item I think I will ‘ditch’. There is absolutely no need to be ‘connected’ 24×7. Leave a message on home phone if I am not available at the time.

      1. +1 ….. I have cell phone, but only put sim card in it when absolutely necessary, like today when SMS to my router seems to be screwed up. The SMS OPT code is required to access bank accounts etc.

        1. 2028 Headline:
          “Sixteen year old found not guilty in of killing parent who tried to take his phone away.”

          “It was my security blanket, my friend, my brain, my only connection to the world, my everything…” claimed defendant. “I did what I needed to do to survive. Three days is a looong time for a kid.”

    1. It’s not a problem, when I was at school very few people used their phones in class unless it was allowed for learning, and phones were used quite a lot for learning. It isn’t as big an issue as people are making it out to be and the problem isn’t the phones themselves, it is the students, teachers and parents. The kids would always find something else to do if they get bored, usually more disruptive than just looking at their phone.

      A lot of universities don’t even care if you attend classes, let alone use your phone in class.

  10. Barely anyone seems to realize that that phone doesn’t magically disappear after high school’s finished, and that there now simply is an additional thing to learn for the students, and to teach for the teachers:
    Living with a smartphone without letting yourself be distracted.
    Kids need to learn that, and high school is a good environment for learning to have something ready to distract you on your person.

    1. Ahhh, no, kids need to learn the life doesn’t begin and end with a cell phone on your person. So turning it off or removing it off the person while in class (or even all day at the school) is a ‘good’ thing.

      1. No it’s not. Just because you think it’s good doesn’t mean that it’s good for others.

        If someone is using a phone and you don’t like it, just ignore it. The problem entirely goes away at that point.

      2. No, because life does now (or at least will soon) begin and end with cell phone (and/or other electronics) on your person. Yes, 15 years ago that was different, but rate of social/technological change is increasing rapidly these days, and today most young people are effectively cyborgs, their smartphone being like an extra limb to them.

        Restricting usage of that in school is at best like forcing left handed people to write with their right hand, and at worst like reversibly amputating your arm during schooltime because your teacher lost his when he was young.

        The greatest effect of school these days seems to be stifling any curiosity. Any learning that may or may not actually occur is worth much less than the damage that is often done.
        Should young people be guided in how to learn, how to find true information, how to use modern technology? Of course, but many (most?) teachers are themselves unable to function in the new world, clinging to the lifeline of “we didn’t need this 50 years ago” to pretend they could still matter.
        Education systems all over the world are adapted to the world we lived in 40-100 years ago, and in a world where the rate of change per year may very well exceed the total change during the entirety of the Roman empire, that’s obviously unacceptable.

      3. Considering phones and the internet are a very important part of how the world works now I would completely disagree with you. There is a need for appropriate and responsible use of phones to be taught in schools. A lot of schools now use phones to support learning, like going and doing research or accessing online resources.

        Some schools are even giving Chromebooks or tablets to their students to help with their education.

        The world is different from when you were in school and technology is a big part of that.

    1. Right. It’s this kind of thinking that has been leading to administrators having gates blocking bathroom access during classes. IT ISN’T SUPPOSED TO BE PRISON.

      Besides, half of them will never read a book again after they graduate (or don’t). That’s probably more tied to school-related trauma than intelligence.

  11. I love how there are tons of older folks, who are not growing up now, are preaching that they had zero issues without phones. IT IS NOT 1990 or 1970 or [INSERT YEAR HERE]. Let the kids have their phones. The ones that want to pay attention will pay attention. There will always be people who do not pay attention. Get off your soap box and stop telling the kids how much better their lives will be without phones. Life sucked back then it sucks now too. You could actually say life is a lot better for most folks today. Take off your nostalgia ridden rose-tinted glasses for a moment.

    1. Yeah they don’t realise, society and the world changes, they may not have needed phones or the internet but they are a very important part of the functioning of the modern world. Phones and laptops are used a lot in teaching now anyway.

      I see a lot of them arguing that if the parent needs to get in contact with them then they can just phone the school. In what world is faster, less disruptive communication a bad thing? Having a phone means your kid doesn’t need called out of class down to the office and you can communicate with them after school is over, like if they miss the bus or if you will be late to pick them up, etc.

      1. Conor, good of you to comment in a positive manner but, at 50 to 60 posts a day coming into my phone it is becoming a little wearing on the patience.

        Let you be the leader to comment to shut this down. The article/question was several days ago.

        So, anyone reading this post, please please stop commenting. I am sure the Australian government and state folks have been hit with enough of these replies (around 5,000 by my reckoning) to actually do something sensible to curb the use of cell phones during class.



        1. The amount of posts coming into your phone is your problem, no one else’s, either switch off notifications, put it on do not disturb or put your phone somewhere where it won’t distract you or switch it off.

          If none of that works then maybe you should get a jammer.

  12. If they go ahead with such a lunatic plan, then hopefully it should inspire the students to learn RF engineering so they can bypass the jamming or otherwise sabotage the jamming equipment. Online filtering in schools provides a good reason for children to motivate themselves to learn about VPNs, this should give them motivation to learn maxwells equations.

    1. Just about everyone in my school used vpns to get around the content restrictions. It really wasn’t hard. Most of us just downloaded one of the free apps and used that since we couldn’t set up our own or pay for one, so we were probably actually putting ourselves more at risk to get round the content restrictions than we would have been if the restrictions were more relaxed.

  13. Just make it a rule you can’t have a phone in class. Leave it in your locker and do your communicating during passing period or at any suitable break time. Firm repercussions for violating the rules. That’s how it used to be when I was in school. Detention and confiscation of the device work pretty well.

    1. So you advocate bullying and theft and senseless incarceration for something that’s really not a problem.

      Anyway, don’t blame the students for fighting back. If some ill-intentioned greedy teacher tries to steal their phone.

      The only problems here are the ones that you advocate creating.

      1. Not about bullying – it’s about a standard involving rigid discipline and the reason why you’re in the institution in the first place. Millions of kids went to school without a phone prior to all this – not having your device accomplishes several things. First it won’t kill you and 2nd it’s one less distraction. You’re to learn in school and not have be the big sloppy liberal social gathering hall it has turned in to. Nobody as yet to tell me just why exactly you need your device on your person during class? It’s totally a luxury that has no place in the classroom…period. You can learn quite well without it. Fighting back sounds to me like a bunch of spoiled babies throwing a tantrum because someone yoinked the dummy out out of their mouth.

    2. Phones and other devices are used a lot in teaching now as they should be. Just about the phone modern world runs on phones and the internet, children need to be taught to use it at appropriate times, taking it away from them is just moving the problem further down the line.

      1. Blah blah blah, same tired argument. Anything that can be learned with a phone can be learned without. Your schtick about chromebooks has monitored and restricted internet access via the school network. Phones do not.

  14. At the start of the program, all students sign a set of rules and agree to the conditions, just like all the other requirements for behavior at school. The teachers are supplied with locking faraday boxes. If a device is seen to be used in class, it will be locked in the box and returned to the student. At the end of the day, the student can redeem the combination for the box for the price of an hour of detention.

    @Allen, nobody is forgetting our school days. When I was in high school, if we showed up without a tie, we had to rent one for the same price that I’m proposing for the combination.

      1. They are simply reacting to their enviroment.
        Schools have decided to model themselves after instituites of correction not those of higher learning.
        This reaction was clearly the desired outcome or they wouldn’t have spent so much time and money ensuring it.

    1. Or you just accept that phones and the internet are a large part of society now and teach kids how to use them appropriately. Kids always find something to do when bored, whether that is talking to each other, reading books, doodling, etc, this isn’t any different. If the class is interesting and engaging then they won’t be on their phones.

      Teachers shouldn’t be trying to take property from the kids, they can ask the child to put the phone at the front if they are caught with it and if they refuse then they are just sent to the office, there shouldn’t be unnecessary conflict between the kids and the teacher, especially not physical conflict like trying to take the kids property off of them.

  15. For a tech-focused site, this comment section is full of Luddites. Many kids today are more knowledgeable on current affairs, stronger vocabulary, and quicker to find answers to their own questions than even the Millenials who were the first to adopt smartphones as daily drivers.

    There are problems, as with any new technology and social upheaval. The smartphone (and the internet it provides) is a groundbreaking shift in how we communicate as a species, and we’re still trying to teach our children like it’s the 1800s and they’re being groomed for the coalmines or the factories.

    1. Phones and the internet are a very important part of modern society, kids need taught how to use it responsibly, by banning phones you are just pushing the problem further down the line.

      The point of schools is to teach kids the skills they need to contribute to a modern society, they need taught how to use the available tools, not taught like it was the 1980s.

  16. Using a phone without permission in a class at a school simply needs to be made a valid reason for a school to put the student out of the school. It removes the problem phone and the problem student. Classroom is left with the students who want to learn and co-operate. Parents can then teach kids how to behave properly to ensure their education will occur when they return. Let the parents confiscate or otherwise manage the problem child. This is not a problem with technology, it is problem with parenting. Parents need to be responsible for their child’s attitude to phone use, just as they (hopefully) toilet train them before they go to school.

    All the other draconian technological solutions are barking up the wrong tree. Schools would have to report daily exclusions, and need to be investigated if their exclusion rates were too high to see if the teachers were running boring classes or the school was crap in general.

    35 years of secondary teaching tells me this will work, not a nerd with a bag of jelly bean technologies.

    1. Exactly, phones are not the problem, the students, parents and teachers are. Kids will always find something to do if they are bored, be that talking, reading a book, doodling, etc, being on their phones is just another part of that. It usually only becomes a problem if the classes are boring or the kid isn’t interested. Kids need taught when and how to appropriately use a phone and the internet, just like they need taught how to behave in class.

      The teacher shouldn’t be trying to forcefully removes the child’s property or anything, their parents should be called. When I was at school at first the teacher just asked them to put it away, then they asked the kid to put it on the teachers desk (note asked, not forced) and if they refused then they were sent to the office.

  17. Apart from the reasons listed in the article, here’s another one: 2 factor authentication. How is a student supposed to log in to any website (such as their own school email account, based on GSuite) without their phone? In my son’s school this settled the debate.

  18. Technological solutions to social issues is not the way to combat this. We need to show students how using the mobile phone at school is bad for their education and then implement strategies such as confiscation and or detentions if caught using them. Technological solutions only encourage students to bypass the restriction. I can speak from experience as a current student at a NSW public high school.

    1. It’s not about showing them that it is bad for their education as many schools now allow phones to be used at certain times for educational purposes, it is about teaching kids how to use it responsibly and appropriately.

  19. Seems like a dumb idea. Undoubtedly there is a fat, juicy contract for someone to implement it. It is in their interest, therefore, to say how very important and useful it will be.

  20. I’m actually in high school right now, and this comment section is interesting, to say the least. Phones are extremely useful and versatile for almost any situation, including education. As a student, I regularly use my phone to take quizzes, review for tests, and take pictures for school projects. We can use our phones to collect data for physics labs, or time reactions in chemistry. Phones are extremely useful when used for educational purposes.

    At my school, the phone policy is teacher-determined, and a few teachers do collect phones at the beginning of each class. I think this is perfect – if a teacher can integrate phones into their teaching, why not? But if they don’t want the distraction, they can remove it.

    Many people have expressed their concerns with social media use at school, but almost all the kids I know only use a social media app for dm’s – the same as texting. (I also found it very funny that some people thought teenagers were using facebook)

    As a student, I (and most of my peers, and especially my teachers) am tired of public education being used as a political battleground.

    1. Sounds like your school has the right population around it to make that work – full of the kids that actually want to engage with learning and will accept gracefully situations like not having their phone even if they don’t like it. But with the number of violent incidents reported for confiscated the phone (etc) in some places that sort of universally applicable thinking is unfortunately naive… What works for your area or for the selected pupils of your school won’t work for everywhere (yet anyway). Something I’ve seen for myself having moved schools, even in the local area moving perhaps one school over the difference between the other pupils culture and attentiveness as a group can be rather huge.

      I do like the idea of using the personal computing device more widely in a classroom setting, I know how useful that can be personally. Though it seems to me smartphones as they stand are really not very good for all aspects of that job – lack of IO, especially GPIO to interface with the sensor packages means I expect its not really doing anything but displaying what the single board computer or real lab equipment has gathered. The lack of a real keyboard makes the data input slower and/or less precise, rather small and varied screen sizes mean displaying the content isn’t going to be consistently good. It isn’t that the phone can’t do the job, just that it really doesn’t excel at doing it.

      Also as somebody who did have a personal computer through school I know I spent much of my time playing an asteroid clone and other similar games as so frequently the lesson was exceptionally tedious, being stuff I already knew or being presented so slowly it only took a tiny amount of attention to keep up. Didn’t do me any harm and I did my best to not distract the rest of the class, always sitting off to the side etc, so I’m not sure if anybody outside a few of my friends even knew. Though I’d hope the teachers were actually attentive and aware enough to notice, and just choose not to make a fuss knowing there wasn’t really any point – as on the whole they were good teachers. But still not sure such a thing with no limit on the software it can run being an integral part of the learning experience is actually a good idea in the classroom.

      1. Lack of IO isn’t really an issue, most schools aren’t trying to use phones like raspberry pis, and you absolutely can input data fast enough on phones.

        The problem isn’t phones, it is people as it generally always is.

        1. I’m talking about actually doing real work – where the auto carrot won’t understand and it is quite possible grammar isn’t relevant either. You can type in Mathematical equations, poetry, anything you like reliably and quickly with a real keyboard. The best the on screen phone keyboard can do is make a horrible hash of this stuff as it tries to be ‘smart’ and turn your not at all normal or even IM/sms style ‘normal’ input into a what it expects you want. Or slow you down hugely as you have to manually override its many many mistakes.

          Then there is the wildly varied screen size and proportions if it is the kids own phone – not good for displaying all content readably, and too darn small to actually display much readably.

          You really should be using a laptop in an education setting, it is just a much much better tool for the job.

          1. Most people in school aren’t using their phones to do “real work” they are using it to do some quick research, write a few notes, etc. When they are writing large amounts they typically aren’t doing it for a maths based class, there are a lot of non maths based classes, like English, geography, history, art, drama, etc where a phone keyboard may be more than enough for light use.

            An advantage of phones and tablets is for learning languages, you can set the keyboard to whatever you want without having to buy a new keyboard.

            Some classes use interactive quizzes or learning material and most of that is optimised for use on phones.

            The main use of phones when I was at school was for research and for looking at past papers for studying, they worked perfectly well for that although I did prefer to use my iPad. All of my English essays throughout school were typed on my iPad but I know people who did it on their phones and it worked fine.

            I do agree that laptops are better but kids always have their phone on them and they don’t need to carry a laptop (some can’t afford both, they need to choose a phone or a laptop and most people would prefer a phone) so it is just more convenient. Some schools are giving Chromebooks or tablets to their students, especially during COVID restrictions.

            So I don’t disagree that laptops are better but phones and tablets are just a lot more convenient and they are usable.

    2. Great comment, I agree with most of it. I want my kids to have phones in emergency situations (I.e. Uvalde) and do not want them taken or put in a Faraday cage, I also don’t want them to be on social media during school.
      Who is this person that keeps claiming there are phones (land lines) on teacher’s desks or walls, could this really exist in 2023?

      1. It is I. And yes, of course they are there. Do you think teachers call the office or other teachers on a cell phone? And insurance companies don’t demand a dedicated line in a classroom? Maybe in your area they have been eliminated? Maybe some use IP phones, but old fashioned phones will work in a power failure or a cell traffic jam. Anyway, it is easy enough to check.

        One of my classrooms had reinforced concrete on 4 sides and was a dead zone. Students were convinced I was running a jamer. Land line was the only way. This is true in many earthquake, tornado, bomb-proof school buildings.

  21. Simple solution… Take the phones away from the kids who don’t follow usage on campus rules. Make the parent come and pick it up. Let the parent fix the respect-the-rules problem, or be punish by having to take time off, to straighten things out. Kids need to learn respect and responsibility. Phone are mainly ‘entertainment’ for many, addictive. Why punish responsiable people?

    1. Harvey: A bad idea. You are for one thing advocating theft of phones. And then you are making imaginary/conjecture claims of “addiction”, in order to justify theft.

      How about using due process and a proper legal procedure to prove someone is guilty first?

      1. it’s not theft, you’re being disingenuous. If security confiscated another prohibited item like a porn magazine or a knife you wouldn’t call that theft.

        “Due process” for getting reprimanded by your teacher, haha. They’re only guilty of breaking school rules. This ain’t court.

        1. If you check state laws in the US you will find most (all?) states have a comprehensive set of rules for schools. For example simple things like refusing a reasonably request by a teacher, like changing seats, is a misdemeanor with a fine. $50 in my state. Teachers are all legally Mandated Reporters but can not write citations.

          Parents would be MUCH more involved if junior was costing them $500 a week. It would be a fascinating experiment to actually apply the laws and find the time-constant for decline in classroom disruption and if there is improvement in outcome, student contentment, etc.

  22. A change in behavior comes from one of two things, internal desire or push to change, or external pressures or restrictions. While you can try to control the youthes by exerting external pressure by blocking cell signals, it would be a lot better to achieve the same by teaching your children self control and discipline. The later would help them out in all walls of life instead of simply hindering them at school.

    Honestly those entire jammer idea reminds me of the American “stop school shootings by giving teachers guns” argument. Any merit it has on paper fails in real life when it ends up causing more harm than good in practice.

    1. Sounds like you have no understanding of technology. and have disqualified yourself from coming across in any informed capacity.

      You have no idea what cell phones are for and how they are used. This means you should not use one yourself, but you should not force your uninformed views on others.

  23. The article mentioned that without cell availability it could be too difficult or time consuming for teachers or school staff to make a call during an emergency, lack of land lines, etc. But why not just use the unjammed Wi-Fi to place calls? Teachers and staff could still use their cell phones for this.

    1. Yes, Rusty. There are perhaps even more victims to be had from an ill-conceived mass censorship policy like this. Or course, censors only want to silence and destroy, without any consideration given to what happens.

        1. This article is over a censorship policy. Many of the comments are strongly in favor of it. It is clear that you have no idea what censorship means, and probably favor it. You might want to do some research on this, instead of coming across as proudly ignorant.

          But just remember, just because you don’t need to use a phone doesn’t mean that others don’t.

          1. My ignorance did noticed you couldn’t even answer what should be easy answers to have such a strong reaction.

            As far as censorship: You’re so wrong. One of my greatest fears for the future, is Big Brother monitoring all we do, say, and think. Sadly, most only get their backs up when a company is China based, but have no qualms letting Google accumulate anything they want. All governments’ favorite spy is in our pockets.

  24. some time after columbine, our school got metal detectors. which were intended to keep kids safe from guns, knives and bombs. they then used them so they could keep us safe from our cd players, tamagotchis, game boys and other mid-90s tech gadgets. our school also had a full cnc machine shop that nobody ever got to use. i guess controlling students is more important than teaching them. the modern smart phone is in a similar situation except with the totally valid use case that they can be used to call the cops in the event of a school shooting. running jammers is just something that will backfire horribly.

      1. There is also the liability type issues – having a workshop and even a sufficiently qualified teacher for it still isn’t enough to prevent little Timmy’s mother going crazy over the harmless little scratches he picked up being somewhat clumsy while de-burring the part etc. I don’t think its actually worth it for the teacher/school even if they wanted to try and run such lessons anymore sadly.

      2. we didnt have a sports budget either. our gym didnt even have showers. i made damn sure to take gym class last so i didnt have to be one of those stinkers who took it first period. of course the school here, where i vote, has a damn rock wall!

      3. $500?

        You know nothing of what you speak. Embarrassed for you. On a nerd site at that.

        Some days you’re Dunning, some days you’re Kruger. Tomorrow will be a better day for you, today is shot.

        I wouldn’t trust HS kid with a brake lathe or a drill press.

          1. Truth hurts…Schultzie.

            $500? You should quit while you’re behind.

            Your kid’s time was clearly better spent in wood shop vs. calculus.

            HS CNC lessons belong on virtual machines. They have no use for real ones. Everything involved is too dangerous and expensive.

          2. See, $500 or $50,000 doesn’t matter.

            From someone like you, who exaggerates every single comment with no substantive content, this one really irked you. Makes my day.

  25. In the Australian state of Victoria it is illegal for students to use phones during school hours. Completely unworkable because it simply can not be enforced 100% or even just consistently. Being the law, a transgression ought to be dealt with by police but it is overwhelmingly left to school management.

  26. The current crop of Labor party leadership in Australia has a strong totalitarian streak, look at the atrocious way they treated the people of Victoria. As for their jamming plans, nothing an adhoc wifi mesh couldn’t get around. You just need a gateway off school grounds but close enough for it to join the mesh. I expect if required some smart teanagers will break the blockade that way, and it will not take them very long to do it either.

  27. There are multiple parental apps. Like they’re built into the operating systems of Google and Apple. Why aren’t we just teaching parents how to put this on their kids phone? It limits what their kids can do what time they can use their phone what they’re doing on their phone when they’re doing it… This is what I do with my kids I have no problem.

  28. This isn’t isolated. There are studies shown the productivity per hour of many jobs has dropped since cell phones became ubiquitous. Anyway seems like some kind of geofencing app would be astronomically cheaper, and still allow emergency calling. Sure someone can spoof their GPS, but software’s pretty good at detecting that and…MOST (emphasis on most school kids won’t bother.

    1. Thank you for justifying your draconian measures and censorship using entirely false information.

      Why not just stop bullying people instead of trying to destroy what you don’t understand.

    2. And there are factual studies that debunk yours. You are using false reasons to justify draconian censorship. Just ignore the phones and the problem entirely goes away. Run your own life, don’t force your ill-intended and uninformed personal choices on everyone else.

  29. Ooohh.. where can I get me some of that? Does is come in plaid? :)
    From Mickey Faraday comes.. new Faraday paint! Just paint it on your kids, your house, your school and bam! the signal is gone!
    Warning: do not use near strong electromagnets, overhead power lines or during electrical storms.

  30. Maybe non-Americans’ minds don’t jump immediately to the thought of school shootings. If I had kids, there is no way I would want them cut off from being able to call 911 from a place of safety.

  31. If a child of mine has a mobile phone in school or anywhere else , it is because I THE ONE IN CHARGE you know the parent ALLOWED them to 1. have a phone 2. Want a direct communication to said child and 3. Allowed it to go to school with them. MY CHIlD MY RULES PERIOD. Be sure usage and tracking would be checked and improper use would have consequences, severe enough to assure responcible use of the device.
    Jam my childs cell, dont plan on seeing much football on television that school term ! or having reliable internet service bcause you see Jamming has and always will be a 2 way street and I can play the Electronic warfare game also! and the iridium or Satcom phones are not that expensive and not cell based so jamming would not work (without specific equipment) on them! If schools worked more on teaching and respected peoplees rights instead of wasting time and money trying to interfere with matters outside of thier perview things would be much better for all!!

    1. Your child your rules can only ever apply to a limited extent – on the school grounds you are not ‘THE ONE IN CHARGE’ you are not there, and whatever the society you happen to live in as a whole believes is in the best interest of children largely trumps your ‘IN CHARGE’ position too – otherwise you are agreeing because it is their child any parent can sell their kid into slavery, beat them half to death every evening for giggles, etc…

      There has to be some degree of co-operation between the children, their parents and the teachers – you know the folks who are actually there during school hours, so are actually the ones in charge and responsible for the kids in their care at that time.

      If the rules of the school are in some way no mobile communication devices then that is how things should be for your kid too. Agree or not the Child has to learn to think and judge the rules they are part of logically AND also accept that sometimes even silly rules have to be followed, even when you don’t like the limits they place on you – that is what makes us a species of Civilisation builders and not a few hairless apes fighting in tiny family groupings over the best tiny patch of forest. You as the parent can campaign for a changes if you believe it really is a problem, but you don’t get to unilaterally decide everything that goes on in the school because your child happens to go there. And as in most nations at least home schooling is allowed, so if you really object that much…

        My rules supercede ALL other rules as a parent I am responcible for all actions of my child. Putting my rules ahead of what some stranger until this term decides my child should do or what my child is allowed to or not allowed to do will NEVER fly Im not beyond taking a school educator , school board member or other “teacher” back to school as my parents did when I was in school School policy did not matter when my parents rules said differently from the schools and I was expected to know to tell my mother or father when there was a issue and they would tell me if i was to go with the flow or if they thought it important enough they would let the school know what the issue was and explain the rule or policy / request was in conflict with what was the CORRECT policy (my rule is king say mom and dad you are not in charge any way shape or form on the matter in question) And the school would either agree to honor my parents wishes on a matter or I would not participate or attend in that capacity. Now mind you there were VERY FEW times this was done less than 10 from kindergarten thru 12th grade, most in k – 4th grade. Most were rather minor like making me wait to have a patrol boy lead thge class out of the building for lunch, even though I went home for lunch and lived the opposite direction from the school lunch room, it came to a head when one day during a real hard rain my mom came to pick me up she could see me and i her but the patrol person wopuld not let me go when she called me, That was the last day I was to listen to anyone as to leaving the building at lunch or after school, i went out the doors on the closer side of the building and returned the same way. No problems my parents set a new policy . I did not abuse the privlage, i was late never and did what I needed to do without causing problems i left when class was released and was back on time. The issue with phones in school is not the phones in school it is the parents not setting policy or training children in proper manners and appropriate use of the device, how do you expect a child to pay attention in school when they dont at home? children do not have any respect for rules anywhere they do as they wish because they think they can. Do not think my child is any thing like these ferral children raised by non parenting parents!

  32. Well it’s 9pm on Saturday night, and Chris Minns is no longer the opposition leader, he’s the new premier. Let’s see if anything comes of the promise.

    Hopefully there are more entries in the “New South Wales” tag in the future (in general, not just this issue)

  33. Confiscate all smarter-than-they-are phones, put them through a shredder, and at most trade them for a phone that will only allow voice communication for one-on-one socialization and emergencies. I know that is not legally possible, but let me dream. This is what their parents should have provided for them anyway. The negative impacts of “smart phones” on children especially greatly outweigh any positive impacts.

    Even for adults, clickbait headlines that often aren’t supported by contents of their articles even when a rare attempt is made to tell all sides of a story, articles that aren’t read or fully read for various reasons including the small display area of the “smart phones” make these devices a near ideal propaganda and official (government and captured media) narrative creation and maintenance device.

    A blogger has made what I believe to be a valid point that AI will never be allowed to tell the full, fact-based, unbiased truth and stand in for the LEARNED critical thinking skill most people are NEVER taught because the maintenance of political power structures relies upon half-truths and lies. Instead they will be programmed to support a narrative as has already been shown with ChatGPT and Google’s AI. Example on ChatGPT:,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/

    1. So you advocate robbery and violence and destruction to solve a “problem” which exists in your mind only. The “negative impacts” are imaginary paranoid claims. Basically, you just need to stop wallowing in ignorance and trying to destroy what you don’t understand. The problems you advocate creating are much greater than the imaginary ones.

      The students by the way are quite justified to fight back if any greedy thief tries to steal from them. Robbery is immoral behavior.

    2. Winston mentioned : “LEARNED critical thinking”

      Because nothing supports learned critical thinking like blanket censorship, and only allowing people to say what what you want, when you want, and only with the technology you personally approve of.

      Can’t have anyone exposed to information and facts you arbitrarily label “half-truths and lies” and “narrative” and “propaganda”, can we?

      Anyway, with your paranoid and fascistic fear of open debate and discussion, you have problem that such phone bans are a very bad idea, outside of North Korea.

  34. The comments here are both hilarious and saddening.
    This isn’t a school problem or a teacher problem; it’s a parenting problem.

    As a parent you are LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE for your child.
    If they are taking a phone to school, being disruptive and not mature enough to behave, then try parenting properly.
    Are most kids really paying for these phones themselves?
    More than likely not – that’s a start.

    Putting the blame on the schools is unfair. They are only dealing with kids that have no boundaries or proper guidance in the home. Parents that allow their kids to disrupt class and other kids who want to learn and then scream the house down if someone dares say their crotch monkey is at fault.

    Spoken as a parent who doesn’t have these problems with their kids.

    1. Dave: It is saddening yes that so many of the comments demand blanket censorship (which is what jamming is) and the more extreme ones demand that the teachers rob students of personal property without reason or cause. Demanding creation of violent incidents in the school.. this can’t go well.

      The facepalm guy is outlining quite a prison camp here…

      And along the way, they readily admit that that don’t understand the technology, so it is all a “if i don’t like it, destroy it” mindset. Rather cro-mag.

    2. +1 for Dave. Same here. Last of 2 kids graduating this year. Both have phones. Never any issues. The school’s rules are fair. My kids know we expect them to abide by them.

      Re S.O.:

      Might want to check up on what censorship means. Jamming can be used for censorship, but isn’t in this situation. When you drive thru a tunnel, your cell might disconnect. Any information is delayed until you’re back outside, but it’s not censorship. Likewise, kids can check their phone between/after class. No censorship. Delayed gratification!

      To be clear, jamming is a bad idea. I have no problem with kids having phones on them. But if used during class, what’s so wrong with having known offenders put their phone in a box at the beginning of class? How is that robbing?

      If you raised your kids to be violent at having a teacher correct them, I don’t blame your kids either for doing S.O.

      1. There is a big difference between something that just happens, phone going in a tunnel, and something that is deliberately done to cut communication and access to the internet, jamming phone signals.

        It is robbing since it is taking someone’s personal property off of them. Is it really that hard to understand?

        Kids should be taught how and when they can use their phones in a responsible way, just punishing them isn’t a good option. You say known offenders should have to put their phones in a box, shouldn’t they be taught and given the chance to change rather than always treated like they’re irresponsible?

        1. @Conner
          “It is robbing since it is taking someone’s personal property off of them. Is it really that hard to understand?”
          No it’s not. it may be cruel and unusual punishment to an addict, by having you put your craving in a box and staring at it for an hour is not robbery.

          “shouldn’t they be taught and given the chance to change rather than always treated like they’re irresponsible?”
          Yes. They are innocent initially. After getting caught they put their phone in a box, and are required to do so when entering class next time. Taught. What’s your solution? You want to give them 15 chances? Rats learn faster than that.

  35. Let them have the phone, but put it in plain sight upright on the desk. Use the phone to solve problems during lessons. Use peer pressure from other kids to assuage compliance, because the other kids will. Stop the class and wait when one goes off. From personal experience, being the oddball in a social setting is REALLY coercive to herd mentality.

  36. Not content with deploying them at demonstrations, the State wants to deploy Stingrays in schools?

    And if students write their class notes on their phones? Or actually carry out real time exercises on them?

    1. That was what I first thought as well, after reading:

      “NSW Labor Party leader Chris Minns also hinted that emerging technology could block students from making calls, texting, and using the internet, while allowing emergency access to those with medical conditions.”

      It sounds a lot like they’re trying to normalize the use of stingray devices, already beloved and in covert use under NDA by various police forces. It doesn’t take much digging to find articles written by the EFF on human rights abuses made possible by the technology.

    1. When I was in school, I was there to learn. There was this one joker in my class who didn’t.
      Always the class clown, always doing things to disrupt the class. I had the kid permanently removed from the class. My argument, why should his actions dictate the quality of my education?
      It comes down to parental rules, respect for one’s teacher, and following the rules of the school.
      If the school says don’t use your phone during class, well, then, DON’T USE YOUR PHONE DURING CLASS. How hard is that to understand? Parents can still get in touch with their child via text messaging and students can still call out during an emergency. The irony is, a phone, smart or otherwise didn’t help the three students killed during that Christian school shooting did it? So, while a phone can be helpful in such a case where the child can call the parent or vice versa and say Mom, I’m OK, do kids really need to have their nose to the screen every single minute of every single day? I’m of the opinion, they do not.

  37. these comments are an interesting read.

    for me, it comes down to a similar debate as ‘knives in school’.

    i’ve carried a knife every day since 4th grade. no one was threatened, no one was injured. i don’t have a criminal record for carrying it. around high school, teachers would routinely ask to use it to open boxes for classroom projects and i was never reported or written up for it. it’s because i demonstrated a respect and responsibility with that knife that nothing ever came of it.

    what many seem to be forgetting is that a knife or a cellphone, is simply a tool. in this topic, we’re debating restricting the use of a tool to specific portions of the population based on their generalized age and location.

    what i see reading all the comments here, as well as the general media, is that there are 2 entirely separate issues that everyone seems be debating as a singular issue:

    1.”implement a set of policies that first assume everyone can carry and use the tool properly, and in a sequence of increasingly restrictive rules, use/access to the tool is limited or eliminated when a specific individual demonstrates a lack of proper use/care of the tool.”

    not every 5th grader is a competent knife carrier, just the same as not every 12th grader is a competent cell phone user. but there are competent/respectful knife-carrying 5th graders, just as there are competent/respectful phone-carrying 12th graders.

    2. “all smart phones are evil and should be banished to the depths of hell because they have no purpose within the confines of school.”

    while it’s fine to feel that way, it seems more of a passionate personal cry than anything factual. the expectations that i’ve always been told is that “school is supposed to prepare students for the real world.”

    as a tradesperson in the “real world”, i don’t use calculus, i don’t dissect frogs, i don’t graph sentences. but i do use my smartphone every day on the job to view my day-to-day job sheets, view the latest updated blueprints, make change orders, calculate a number of trade-specific formulas that save me time(i can do them long-ways on paper if i had to, but would take hours sometimes), and contact the office or customers to discuss changes via email, text, and phone number. i see the same among the carpenters, plumbers, engineers, builders, and designers that all work on the jobsites as well.

    what i feel is most missing in this discussion of ‘BANISH ALL DE PONES!!1!’ is a lack of respect for the added ease and simplicity the ‘new’ tool makes a number of menial tasks. instead of the choice of teaching students to work entirely without, it would be much better served to be inclusive of new technologies and tools that allow the next generation to work faster and more efficiently than previous generations. that is the inherent progression of our society. but that is only possible with correct teaching and implementation of that new tool. but by immediately moving to banish the latest/greatest technology/tools, there’s this desire to intentionally cripple the newest generation to the ‘old ways’ simply to hold them to our own antiquated standard of ‘excellence’.

    every tool has its place and deserves respect, whether that’s in a school, workshop, hackerspace, or home.

    1. Like you said they need to be taught how to responsibly use a phone and when it is appropriate to use one. Far too often people just ban things rather than trying to fix the problem or educate people on proper use. In the UK carrying just about any knife is illegal, that doesn’t stop knife crime from happening, it just means everyone who follows the law now can’t carry a basic everyday tool with them, one that is very useful.

  38. Just another one of those “interventions to correct an intervention” that Mises talked about. He was talking about economy, but anyone that’s deschooled their mind sees it all the time about school.

  39. Breaking fourth wall I’m a physician that only takes care of children. Saying better parenting is the answer is unworkable in the USA. Maybe other places. Yea teaching your child right and raising them to honor education is a wonderful but so woefully rose colored ideal.
    I was fortunate enough to be raised “right” by two parents who taught me the value of education and respect.

    Totally biased sample set but many of the kids that come through my health care system are products of broken, sometimes very broken homes or worse. Saying “let the parents teach them respect” just … isn’t a thing.
    That there are like 200 comments on this should tell you it’s a very complex problem.
    Sorry. No overreaching point.

    1. “Yea teaching your child right and raising them to honor education is a wonderful but so woefully rose colored ideal.”

      Says this but then…

      “I was fortunate enough to be raised “right” by two parents who taught me the value of education and respect. ”

      Quite the rose right there. Shame it’s only for you.

      1. I mean. Yeah. That’s my point. I can’t tell if you are trying to insult me or call me a hypocrite or something and if so, why? I’m well aware of my luck or many would call it privilege. Living in US and seeing, professionally, many broken homes and families, some of which are their “fault” (drugs, abuse, criminal behavior but probably more like systemic issues IMO) and much of it that is just “unlucky” … I’m saying that, relevant to this article, saying “just teach your kids to be respectful in school” might not be the most effective answer. Especially with the teachers above that comment about taking phones leading to violence. Also for the record I work in academics and am a full time teacher as well. If I’m totally missing the point of your reply, apologies.

    2. Yeah, I wish more people understood that for “general population” the smarthphone is not a communcation device, not a PDA (personal digital assistant) or 300-book library carried in a pocket. It’s a neverending series of quick dopamine shots provided by social media and mobile “games”.

      Smartphone seems to be the new cigarette. Purposely designed by few big companies to be as addictive as possible, presented as the best thing ever, very hard to quit and just like smoking in 1950s – almost everybody does it.

      1. Mind you own business, Karen? When I was in school, my biggest distraction was my own imagination. Good luck jamming that…

        It’s futile to try and make the next generation just like the last. My parents hated everything I did growing up too, so did yours. It’s not our place to force following genrations to follow in our every footstep. You are going to die somday, make the best of THIS life and stop worrying about others.

      2. General population. Interesting choice of words. Bruce Alexander’s famous findings about addiction would suggest that unschoolers, not being play-deprived, should be able to have their phones without being addled by them, compared to the “general population”.

        In principle this is testable, but we aren’t going to see that paper…

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.