Smartphones and tablets have been banned from French classrooms in a bid to tackle smartphone addiction among young people.
This France-wide ban will apply to students under the age of 15, beginning as of the upcoming Autumn term.
As of September, all devices must be either left at home or turned off until the end of the school day. Exceptions may be made for students with disabilities, ‘pedagogical use’ or extra-curriculum activities.
Individual high schools will be given the decision whether or not to extend the ban to students who are over the age of 15.
— Dominik Unterberger (@Submontanus) July 31, 2018
The vote was decided in parliament yesterday, passing 62 votes to one, as part of campaign promise made by President Emmanuel Macron.
Speaking on French news channel BFMTV, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said:
We know today that there is a phenomenon of screen addiction, the phenomenon of bad mobile phone use […]
Our main role is to protect children and adolescents. It is a fundamental role of education, and this law allows it.
Those who support the bill believe it will help protect children and teenagers from becoming addicted to smartphone technology.
However, there are those who have opposed the bill; describing it as ‘cosmetic’ and a ‘publicity stunt’.
Others have pointed out how a law was already approved back in 2010 to prohibit smartphones ‘during all teaching activity’.
Alexis Corbière, a former teacher who is now a deputy for the Unbowed France party, has made the following comments according to CNN:
This isn’t a 21st century law in our eyes, but a law from the era of news channels and binary debate.
I don’t know a single teacher in this country that allows the use of phones in class.
— Ralf Kroefges (@kroefges) July 31, 2018
This new bill has divided opinion all across the globe. Some people have praised Macron for removing the classroom distraction, while others see this as an unrealistic step backwards.
One person tweeted:
Well done Macron!!!
One weeks education time is wasted/year, due to pupils uncontrollable use of mobile phones during school work.
I wish ‘adults’ in Denmark had courage to follow the example of France. In the meantime, we keep wasting 1 week/year…..
However, another said:
For a government that wants to give access to digital for all, it’s contrary and it’s effect backwards…
But well, the day when there will be need for help and no one will have his phone, they will be happy, they will have a share of responsibility.
Well done Macron!!!??????????? One weeks education time is wasted/year, due to pupils uncontrollable use of mobile phones during school work. I wish “adults” in Denmark had courage to follow the example of France. In the meantime, we keep wasting 1 week/year…..
— TrumpSharesInRosneft (@odinsspyd) July 31, 2018
France has just adopted a ban on mobile oe cell phones in schools to focus on learning. Excellent! Now on educational reforms? https://t.co/ZN7drqucHU
— Lilia Jolibois (@LiliaJolibois) July 30, 2018
New law just been passed in France: use of mobile phones banned in all schools/colleges (roughly up to year equivalent to Key Stage 4/GCSEs) altogether – that's everywhere within the perimeter of the school so includes playground etc. Be interesting to see public/press reaction. https://t.co/Ui2R0o5uV5
— Hélène Widmer #FBPE (@HeleneMidhurst) July 30, 2018
Demain on interdit le passage des voitures en cas de feu rouge!
— alerte aux gogoles! (@tegehi) July 30, 2018
Pour un gouvernement qui veut donner l'accès au numérique pour tous, c'est contraire et ça fait effet reculons… Mais bon, le jour où il y aura besoin des secours et que personne n'aura son téléphone, ils seront content, ils auront une part de responsabilité.
— Clément HAUROGNÉ (@ClementHaurogne) July 30, 2018
According to French regulator ARCEP, over 90 per cent of 12 to 17-year-olds in France owned mobile phones in 2016. This was up from just 72 per cent as of 2005.
A 2015 study from the London School of Economics found smartphone bans in schools helped raise test scores among low-achieving students.
However, no significant impact was noted among high-achieving students.
France will ban mobile phones in schools from September. I don't know if that is good or bad, but what I know is that: China has already been banning mobile phones from elementary schools to high schools since tens of years ago.
— (Brian)Bowhan Yu (@BrianYuH750) July 31, 2018
Do you think this policy would work well in the UK? One thing is for certain, there will be a lot of grumpy French teenagers slamming their bedroom doors right about now…
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications. When not Lad-ing about, she enjoys cooking, reading and trying not to fall over in Yoga.