Mobile phone 'ban' for early childhood educators: the facts
The Sector > Quality > Compliance > Restrictions on using personal devices to capture images: What you need to know

Restrictions on using personal devices to capture images: What you need to know

by Freya Lucas

July 02, 2024

Important changes to how early childhood education and care (ECEC) services are able to use personal phones and devices whilst providing ECEC came into play yesterday, 1 July. 


In the piece below The Sector has provided an overview of key information for those services who have elected to adopt the new National Model Code and Guidelines which have been introduced to safeguard children and young people whilst in the care of ECEC services. 


Readers should be aware that (at this stage) the Code and Guidelines are intended for centre based early childhood services, and not outside school hours care (OSHC), family day care (FDC) or out of scope services, however ACECQA has stated that providers of other types of ECEC services and approved providers of OSHC services “may choose to consider adopting similar practices within their own contexts.”


The Model Code is a voluntary, interim measure while future legislative reform is being considered by governments, and the Guidelines are in place to support the implementation of the Model Code.


What is the National Model Code and Guidelines?


In place from 1 July 2024, the National Model Code, and its associated guidelines, form part of a range of actions Federal, State and Territory Governments are taking to respond to the 16 recommendations of the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) Review of Child Safety Arrangements under the National Quality Framework.


The review was commissioned by the Australian Government and undertaken ACECQA and investigated: 


  • how well the National Quality Framework (NQF) operates to ensure a child safe environment. 


  • how the NQF interacts with national and jurisdictional laws, regulations, policies and practices, to safeguard children’s safety. 


The review confirmed the NQF remains robust and focused on continuous improvement, and makes 16 recommendations to further strengthen: 


  • child-safe governance, leadership and culture 


  • prevention and early intervention 


  • educator safeguards and teacher registration and accreditation 


  • support for staff to respond to and manage risks 


  • child safety arrangements across jurisdictions.


The restriction of the use of personal phones/devices was one of the core recommendations.


“The Code is a great example of governments and the sector working together to support providers of ECEC with best practice guidance on how to keep children safe,” West Australian Minister for Early Childhood Education Sabine Winton said.


What is covered under the National Model Code and Guidelines?


Taking photos and videos of children on personal phones and devices will be restricted in early childhood education services who adopt the new National Model Code and Guidelines.


Specifically, the new Code and Guidelines set out that only service-issued devices can be used when photographing and filming children.

The Code and Guidelines also outline the strict controls that must be in place for taking, sharing and storing images or videos.

Providers of centre-based ECEC are strongly encouraged to adopt the Code, under which personal devices can only be carried or used in limited circumstances such as for health or family reasons.

“We’re ensuring child safety measures in early childhood education and care services remain contemporary and fit-for-purpose,” Minister for Early Childhood Education Dr Anne Aly said. 


“This is about helping ECEC providers to embed a child-safe culture in their services.”

Centre-based early childhood services should be guided by the voluntary Code and Guidelines while further child safety regulatory reforms are being progressed. 


A range of elements to support services to communicate that they are using the National Model Code have been developed:


The National Model Code and Guidelines can be found here

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button