Primary school students in NSW will no longer be allowed to bring their mobile phones to school as of next year, in a bid to reduce stress, bullying and sex images.
The state government announced the move today, following a review into their use in classrooms.
"Mobile phones, unfortunately, are not only distracting but also causing stress for young children — and we can't have that continue," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told Seven's Sunrise.
"We're sending a very strong message to everybody that children need to be protected."
But under the change, high schools will be given the choice to opt in to the ban, news.com.au reports.
The education department will provide guidelines to schools about exactly how the ban will work, but it is understood students won't be able to have access to phones during the day.
If there are special requests from parents they will be kept somewhere to be accessed before or after school, Ms Berejiklian said.
Psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg, who led the review, which considered about 14,000 survey responses and 80 written submissions, said mobile phones posed a risk to children.
"It's all really about kids focusing on lessons, better socialising, reducing social media use and reducing online bullying and online image abuse," he told 2GB, explaining that schools had a "duty of care" to implement the new policy to protect their students from the risks phones pose to their mental health.
"I'm really worried about the stress a lot of these kids are already under," he told The Daily Telegraph.
"It's very clear that the vast majority of young people who end their life have a mental health problem, particularly depression.
"So anything we can do to reduce depression, to reduce stress and anxiety in young people we should do and all schools have a duty of care to provide students with a safe environment in which to learn."
Dr Carr-Gregg told the publication that if parents want their young child to have a phone, it should not have a camera or internet access.
For high schools, he favours banning phones for students in years 7 to 10 and strictly limiting access for those in years 11 and 12.
Education Minister Rob Stokes said many high schools already had strategies in place to deal with mobile phones.
"Sometimes mobile phones can be useful in a secondary school context where they are used to augment learning activities," Mr Stokes told the ABC.
"But they can also be dangerous and be a distraction."
He said there would be further "targeted" consultation with high schools because their feedback was more "mixed and nuanced".