Safe and responsible use of mobile technology in schools: guidance

Advice for schools and local authorities on how to develop policies that encourage safe and responsible use of personal mobile technology in



2. Mobile technology is an integral part of the lives of children and young people across Scotland, with many bringing their own mobile devices into school.

3. Used responsibly, mobile devices such as phones, tablets etc can enhance learning and teaching, communication and social experiences and can bring a sense of security to parents as their children enjoy more independent activities, such as walking to and from school unsupervised. Such devices can also be powerful tools when utilised by teachers to enhance learning and teaching.

4. There are risks associated with children and young people bringing their own personal mobile devices into schools. The Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research 2012 highlighted cases of misuse, both in terms of low-level disruption in classes and more serious misuse such as bullying and harassment of children and young people and staff. Such behaviour is unacceptable in any context. The inappropriate use of this technology can also detract from their appropriate use in learning and can involve teaching staff, children and young people, and parents in investigations which require disproportionate amounts of time and can cause significant disruption to the school and wider community.

5. Stories relating to misuse of mobile technology are frequently reported in the media with many demonstrating the potentially devastating impact of such misuse on individuals and their families.

6. Taking into account both the potential benefits for learning and teaching from the existing context of increased ownership and usage, whilst considering the risk factors, it is unreasonable and impractical to attempt to impose a ban on mobile devices in schools. A different approach is required which promotes the safe and responsible use of mobile devices while encouraging schools to adopt a robust but measured response to the consequences of their inappropriate use. This will help staff, children and young people, and parents to enjoy the flexibility that mobile devices can provide, whilst helping them to feel safe and protected from harm, and reducing the likelihood of accessing inappropriate content.

7. The two key policy drivers, Curriculum for Excellence and Getting it Right for Every Child recognise that developing the wellbeing of staff and children and young people is essential for creating the right environment for effective learning and teaching through the Curriculum. Additionally, Scottish Ministers have made a clear commitment to recognising, respecting and promoting children's rights in Scotland. The Children and Young People Bill will ensure that children's rights, as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ( UNCRC), properly influence the design and delivery of policies and services by placing new duties on Scottish Ministers and the public sector.


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