The use of smartphones, mobile phones, smart devices and other technologies is now a feature of daily life for people of all ages.

However, there is an increasing awareness amongst educators and mental health professionals that smart phone use:

  1. Is contributing to a globally observable increase in anxiety amongst children; and
  2. May expose children to a number of risks, including cyberbullying as well potentially encountering harmful or disturbing interactions and content.

In response to this, the PGTA of Harcourt Terrace ETNS is recommending that as many parents as possible sign up to an annual voluntary collective agreement.

The voluntary collective agreement will:

  • Commit you to delaying providing your child(ren) with their own smartphone or smart device until at least the end of 6th class. 
  • Complement the school’s smartphone policy, which will state that students are not permitted to bring mobile phones or devices onto school premises, unless for pre-agreed reasons (to be published later in March).

We recognise that as part of the school’s education programme some pupils have supervised access to technology and online educational resources to support their learning and enhance their learning experience. Access to and use of the internet during the school day is outlined in the school’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) and the voluntary agreement does not interfere with this.

Whilst the PGTA consensus is supportive of the annual voluntary agreement we also respect each family’s right to decide whether or not their children have access to a smartphone or smart device.

What are some of the top reasons to sign the voluntary collective agreement?

There are some clear reasons evidenced here, summarised below:

  • Smartphones are addictive
  • Excessive smartphone use is altering children’s brains
  • Smartphones impair sleep
  • Screen time impacts behaviour
  • Smartphones interfere with relationships
  • Smartphones increase the risk for anxiety and depression
  • Smartphones put your child at risk for cyber bullying
  • Smartphones expose children to sexual content
  • Increased social media use is linked to development of eating disorders
  • Technology executives ban smartphones for their children

We compiled a document containing research results as well as testimonies from parents, which gives further support to the case for delaying giving smartphones to our children until they are ready.

Sign the Voluntary Collective Agreement (once per child in your family)!

Responses received to data are visible here.

Once signed you can print this document to remind everyone of your commitment to the voluntary agreement!