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Island principal says provincial cell phone regulations in schools ‘a great idea’

Provincial regulations coming to schools about cell phones in classrooms are getting the approval of an Island principal.

Lake Trail Community School principal Kyle Timms says the regulations are a great step forward. He adds that while cell phones can have a positive impact on learning, they can also be a big distraction while learning.

“The kids have access to every bit of information out there anywhere at any time,” said Timms. “That makes getting information and connecting with things and people much easier.

“The downside of that is they’re always connected with everyone all the time. We see lots of kids who have cell phone addictions who are connected to their phones.”

Another benefit he sees within the potential regulations is the ability to educate kids on safety when it comes to the internet. Timms feels this is a team job as digital literacy and safety is part of the curriculum.

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“It’s all of us, it has such an impact on kids and even adults in our society that we want to give the kids the skills to use those tools in the best way,” said Timms. “It’s the teachers’ responsibility and it’s the parents’ responsibility.

“Parents need to be keeping an eye on what’s going on as far as safety. The parents who are aware of what’s going on with their kids on their cell phones, have limits on when they can use it, don’t have their cell phones at bedtime, that makes a huge difference.”

Timms adds they suggest parents turn off WI-FI or change the password so kids cannot access it during certain hours. As far as being able to contact their parents, Timms feels there are enough other methods available in schools to do so.

While it is too early to say exactly what regulations will be brought in province-wide, Timms says many SD 71 schools already have regulations in place and there may not be big changes coming.

“Our policy follows the model that [G.P Vanier Secondary] created the year before, we call it ‘no cell after the bell,’” said Timms.

“When kids go to class, they put their cell phones and other personal devices like Air Pods or other things in their backpack or their lockers and they are not used during class time.”

Timms says districts might see changes coming to some schools if needed by September for the next school year.

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