Mobile chaos at schools
Dutch schools are desperately trying to come to grips with the proliferation of mobile phones and smart phones among their students. Most schools lack a coordinated approach regarding the use of mobile phones, which tend to disrupt concentration and adversely affect the quality of teaching and security at schools.
These are the conclusions of a survey conducted by the National Academy for Media and Society which was published on Monday. A spokesperson for the academy says that mobile phones, which usually come equipped with a camera, are increasingly being used to harass fellow students and teachers.
Embarrassing videos are published on the internet and people are maligned on social media. A high school student interviewed for the research said: “I know boys who enter the teachers’ restrooms and hold their phones over a stall to take photographs. For fun, because they know a teacher will never get out of their stall that fast.”
The rapid development of mobile internet has left schools struggling to catch up with both the negative and the positive aspects of mobile phones. And there is a lack of unequivocal policies regarding their use, and quite often there is no policy whatsoever.
The National Academy for Media and Society, a research institute dedicated to improving the media awareness of young people, is arguing for binding nationwide agreements on what is acceptable and what isn’t. Each school should appoint a ‘media coach’ who maintains contact with a group of student experts. Teachers should also agree on rules regarding their own behaviour on social media such as Twitter, Hyves and Facebook.
The researchers expect that mobile means of communication will prove impossible to ban from class rooms, but argue for using them in an educational manner.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide