By Michael Giles

LAST week, the State Government announced that mobile phones will be banned for all students at Victorian state primary and secondary schools from Term 1 2020.
The aim of the ban is to help reduce distraction, tackle cyber bullying and improve learning outcomes for students.
Yes, definitely, the ban on mobile phones during class time is long overdue but it shouldn’t stop there.
In reality, we are still coming to terms with the impact of mobile phones on our daily living and many parents are still working out the ground rules for smartphone use at home as well.
Should the phones go down at meal times? What about after a
certain time at night? And not in their bedrooms at all?
Should “screen time” of any sort be out prior to school? Especially when you consider how many kids are waking up early to play games and are positively exhausted and totally non-communicative before even leaving home for school.
What about the impact on literacy skills? There’s been a marked drop off in reading and writing skills since the advent of smart phones.
So, there’s a happy medium there and it’s good news that the State Government is providing some leadership on this thorny question but we shouldn’t be leaving it to them.
We need to set our own ground rules, for our kids and equally for ourselves.
What has happened to the act of conversation?
And, the State Government should go further and ban the use of mobile phones, and the plethora of other distractions in cars and other road vehicles, until we properly access its impact.
Big, interactive screens right in front of the driver these days with satnav, music and all your other communications technology at your fingertips and in your face? Is that impacting road safety? It’s got to be.
This is another area where government leadership is required and it’s one that the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) should pick up for advocacy.