Soaring screen use following pandemic affecting learning, experts say

The pandemic took students from classes to homes learning from smartphones, laptops and other technological devices.

How did this affect teenagers and other students around the state?

Experts say restricting phones in secondary schools is crucial to prevent disrupted learning.

Students in Victoria use mobile phones as part of their lives – buying and using mobile phones among teenagers has become a lifestyle trend.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has documented a hike in the usage of mobile phones among children aged between 6 to 13.

Social work student Ivin Tomy says during lockdown there was a blurring of the private and personal in students’ lives.

“Since the outbreak of the pandemic, made students move to their respective rooms and which in turn helped them to bring mobile phones laptops and other digital accessories to their private and personal spaces,” he says.

University students are permitted to take their mobile devices to their classrooms but the rules differ when it comes to school students.

Since 2020 Victorian state school authorities implemented several steps to engage students more in outdoor and social activities and to reduce time spent on screens.

The impact of internet misusage has increased significantly due to its high accessibility through smartphones, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mass media and communication student Aiswaria says phones affect the learning experience.

“When it comes to students and mobile phones in their lives, mobile phones are definitely a distraction in classrooms,” she says.

“Students do waste a lot of time on surfing the internet, maybe playing games, getting involved in unnecessary dramas…and sometimes we sometimes even end up talking to someone unknown – also students probably would try to sneak in mobile phones inside exam halls to search for answers or refer to some books.”