Personal Space

Mobile phones and school

Almost all young people don’t know a world without mobile phones. Often they’re initially provided to help parents and their kids alert each other about school pickups or sporting schedules - but then become a principal means of communication between young people themselves.

Many schools have policies relating to phone use during school hours and on school grounds, based on the disruption to learning that occurs if calls and texts are received or being sent in class. Rules also govern the use of phone cameras, as the cameras can be used to film or photograph students in change rooms, toilets and in the classroom.

If someone tries to steal your phone from you, don’t fight it – it’s a physical possession that can be replaced easily, and your safety is worth much more.

Schools may also ban phones as they do other personal objects due to the risk of theft. However, if phones have been provided so students can communicate with parents, bans on possession may cause problems.

What should be done if a phone is lost or stolen?

If your phone is stolen or ‘permanently’ lost, remember that you can block it so that it can’t be used. Contact your service provider as soon as possible so charges don’t start piling up and so access to your address contact list is reduced.

If someone tries to steal your phone from you, don’t fight it – it’s a physical possession that can be replaced easily, and your safety is worth much more.

How can predators use mobile phones to contact me?

Internet predators are constantly looking for ways to facilitate direct contact with young people and on many occasions have obtained mobile phone numbers from them during online chat conversations. They will also search the internet for online profiles that contain mobile telephone numbers or personal information.

These people have been known to send expensive mobile telephones to young people as gifts. This gesture is part of the grooming process, and can result in the young person feeling indebted to the predator. In these situations, predators have also paid the young person’s telephone bills to ensure that communication can continue without the knowledge of the parents.

Many people are now making use of satellite navigation and GPS capability on their phones. Your parents should weigh the advantages of you having a phone against the possibility that anyone can identify where you are, in real time.

Suggestions for your parents to consider when deciding if you’re to have a phone:
  • They can choose a mobile phone plan for you that doesn’t feature internet access, or contact your provider to block internet access
  • Your provider can also block other services at your parent’s request – text messages, picture messages, etc
  • Talk about how and why camera phones should be used – particularly when wanting to take another person’s photograph, which must be done only with that person’s permission
  • Stress the importance of you not responding to any messages from unknown people. If you receive persistent calls or messages from an unknown person, you should talk to your parents and report it to the police, taking a note of the number and saving any messages or pictures on your mobile.
Thanks to the Queensland Police Service and the publications Who’s chatting to your kids? for free blocking of lost or stolen mobile phones.

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