MAMAMIA OPINION: MOBILE PHONE BANS ARE MAKING OUR KIDS IRRELEVANT IN THE WORLD THEY’RE GROWING INTO

Tuesday 17 Dec 2019

By Jane Mueller. Published by Mamamia, 17 December, 2019.

The humble pencil. It exists as a writing and drawing tool. Great things have come about as a result of this tool, both in terms of education and world-changing influence. But the pencil also makes for an excellent weapon. It can be used as a missile or a dagger.

The mobile phone. It exists as a communication and research tool. Great things have come about as a result of this tool, both in terms of education and world-changing influence. But the mobile phone also makes for an excellent weapon. It can be used as a distraction or to emotionally injure.

We allow pencils in schools despite their potential danger because we know they assist in the learning environment. Children understand the intended purpose of a pencil, yet children are smart enough and creative enough to know that it can also be used as a weapon. When the novelty of a pencil has worn off, responsibility tends to dominate its use. Yes, there is always the risk that children will resort to using a pencil as a weapon, but it is our responsibility as adults to instil values that help children to make wise and caring choices. When children falter, we have a responsibility to help them learn from their mistakes, to restore damaged relationships, and to work towards behavioural improvement in the future. Confiscation may form part of this process for a period of time.

In today’s world of mobile devices, we must balance the risk posed by technology with the opportunities and benefits of technology. And, in the school context, we have two options.

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