Cellphones and other personal mobile devices in schools
Learn about the rules for using personal mobile devices in the classroom.
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As of November 2019, using cellphones and other personal mobiles devices during instructional time is restricted.
During the provincial consultation on education reform in Fall 2018, 97% of parents, students and educators told us that there should be restrictions on the use of cellphones at school. We updated the provincial code of conduct to:
- restrict the use of cellphones and other personal mobile devices during instructional time
- help students focus on learning
School boards, school authorities and provincial and demonstration schools also established codes of conduct consistent with the provincial code of conduct.
Mobile devices in schools
A personal mobile device is any personal electronic device that can be used to communicate or access the internet, such as a cellphone or tablet.
In elementary and secondary school classrooms, mobile device use is restricted during instructional time to:
- prevent distractions
- maximize learning time
The restriction applies to all personal mobile devices.
Talk to your child’s school or school board to learn about any additional restrictions.
If a student uses a personal mobile device without permission, disciplinary action is determined by the local school board or school policies. The disciplinary action must be consistent with the provincial code of conduct and school board codes of conduct policy.
When mobile devices can be used
Your child can bring a personal mobile device to school and use it during recess or lunch.
Personal mobile devices are allowed during instructional time only under the following circumstances:
- for educational purposes, such as conducting research or access educational websites, as directed by the educator in the classroom
- for health and medical purposes
- to support special educational needs, including students with mental health needs
Students with medical conditions
School boards and schools must provide exceptions for students who need to use mobile devices to support, monitor or regulate their health or medical conditions.
Students with medical conditions do not need a physician or nurse practitioner’s signature to be eligible for this exception. They only need to provide a note from a parent or guardian.
What parents can do
Parents or guardians can teach children about healthy balance of using technology by limiting screen time at home. You can also:
- read Media Smarts’ tips for managing your kids’ screen time
- explore Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) services and resources if you have concerns about your child’s use of technology
For more information on restriction of cellphones and other personal mobile devices in classrooms: