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


Policy development and implementation

17. Promotion of digital citizenship moves beyond compliant behaviour and involves commitment to responsible behaviour. Engaging the whole school community - staff, children and young people and parents - in policy development is the most effective means of ensuring engagement with, and commitment to, the policy. The policies should be regularly reviewed to ensure the commitment of new staff, children and young people and parents to the policy and to take account of new developments in technology.

18. Key themes that may form a framework for whole school community discussion and ultimate inclusion in such a policy include:

  • Guidance regarding any restrictions on personal mobile device use within school grounds within the school day, at social events and on school outings. For example, it may be agreed that, unless they are being used in a lesson, mobile phones should be switched off and out of sight during lesson times.
  • Clear guidelines on the appropriate use of mobile technology for learning and teaching purposes.
  • Emphasis on the need for safe and responsible use of mobile technology by children and young people and staff outwith formal learning and teaching purposes.
  • Clear guidelines on the need to respect privacy, which should include instructions that camera and filming functions must not be used without prior consent of subjects (children and young people or staff) and special permission of school management.
  • Clear guidelines that images or recordings obtained by use of mobile phones should not be uploaded on social networking or other websites without the express permission of the subjects.
  • Agreed consequences and sanctions for the misuse of mobile phones that are integrated with each school's existing policies and approaches to managing relationships and behaviour.
  • Clear procedures for confiscation and return of mobile devices.
  • Clear protocols on reporting of misuse within the school, and the support available in school for staff and for children and young people who are the subject of harassment using mobile phones.
  • Consideration of situations where mobile phones may be used by children and young people with particular needs, for example, a young carer who is worried about the health of their parents.
  • Clearly-stated responsibility/liability for personal mobile devices in terms of loss, theft or breakage.
  • The range of ways that the policy will be shared with children and young people, parents and staff, for example in the Parent Handbook or school website.


Back to top