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Kolkata schools try to tackle kids’ dependence on mobiles

Calcutta International School has changed their policy and confiscate not just the phone but the SIM card, too

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 12.01.23, 07:57 AM
Representational image

Representational image

iStock photograph

The desperation in a student when his or her phone gets confiscated in school has gone up several times and some parents succumb to pressure from the child to approach the teacher to get the device back.

Most parents now know how dependent their child is on the phone but they are mostly turned away by the school when they come with a “phone, please” request.


In one school, a Class X boy refused to leave the premises because his phone was confiscated.

In another school, a Class IX student asked his teacher “why are you taking the phone away when you have put the school on the phone?”

In a third school, a parent requested the teacher to return the confiscated phone (a high-end one) and keep another one in return.

Some students cry and plead with the teacher if their device is taken away. Many schools allow senior students to bring their phones but it is confiscated if they are caught using it on campus. In some schools, the students deposit the phones in the morning and take it back before leaving campus.

In some, there is a blanket ban. But students find ways to hide it or leave it with carpool drivers outside.

The pandemic has ensured that each child has a phone and some of them have more than one, a teacher in a south Kolkata school said.

But with schools completing close to a year of in-person classes, several instutions said they “cannot turn a blind eye” to students using phones on campus.

Teachers have come across instances where children ask their parents to buy them another phone when one is taken away and the parents succumb to it.

Calcutta International School has changed their policy and confiscate not just the phone but the SIM card, too.

“When we confiscate the phone and the SIM card, we inform the parents. Earlier, we would only take the phone... The SIM card and phone are returned only at the end of the term,” said Tina Servaia, principal, senior school, Calcutta International School.

Children don’t listen despite constant reminders.

“There are some parents who plead on behalf of their children for the devices. It is apparent that they are succumbing to the pressure created by the child who cannot do without the phone,” said Amita Prasad, director, Indus Valley World School.

“The desperation is evident and it is across all age groups,” she said.

Loreto House sends messages to parents and makes regular announcements in the assembly. “We still see parents coming to school asking for the phone,” said principal Aruna Gomes.

Senior students are more direct about their dependence on the phone, said teachers.

“They got a taste of education in anonymity (online) and they feel they can question in-person teaching,” said Rodney Borneo, principal, St Augustine’s Day School, Shyamnagar.

Students are sometimes caught taking selfies and making reels in school. Some students have the timetable on a PDF file on their phones.

“It is not that students are always misusing the phone but we tell them so the device does not cause a distraction. The phone keeps pinging so, naturally, their attention will shift even if they are studying,” said Servaia.

Last updated on 12.01.23, 07:57 AM

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