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Poll: Ban mobile phones during class, but not breaks

29 Nov 23

Poll: Ban mobile phones during class, but not breaks

New Zealanders most support a ban on mobile phones at school during class time, but not during breaks.

A Horizon Research poll of four possible policy options finds:

  • 61% support and 20% oppose banning mobile phone use at all schools during class time but not during breaks
  • 56% support, 26% oppose, a ban on use for the whole school day
  • 19% say there should be no ban (60% disagree with that view), and
  • 52% support and 26% oppose letting schools decide.

During the October general election campaign the National Party, now leading the formation of a coalition government, promised to ban mobile phone use at schools during the whole day.

The outgoing Labour government policy is to let schools decide.

People with children

Horizon’s survey of 1,481 adults nationwide also finds a ban during class, but not during breaks, is the most favoured option among those with children in their households.

63% support this (19% oppose). Only 22% of people with children think there should be no ban at all.

52% of people with children in the household think schools should decide.

Horizon says that while the phone ban policy was reported as being controversial during the campaign, it has solid public support. Tweaking the policy to allow mobile using during class breaks would maximise support.

The survey was conducted between November 10 and 16. Respondents represent the New Zealand adult population. At a 95% confidence level, the maximum margin of error is +/- 2.5%.

Horizon commissioned the survey as part of its public-interest research programme.

Footnote: On November 29, 2023, the National-led coalition government announced that a ban on mobiles in schools was to be implemented during its first 90 days in office.

For further information:

Please contact Graeme Colman, Principal, Horizon Research, email, telephone +64 21 848 576.

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