France to ban children from using mobile phones in schools

France’s Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer has announced the prohibition of mobile phones during school hours. This ban will begin September 2018.

“These days the children don’t play at break time anymore, they are just all in front of their smartphones and from an educational point of view that’s a problem” argues Blanquer. Which is why at the start of the new school year, students in France will no longer be able to turn on their mobile phones during school hours. Further extending an existing ban that prevents school children from bringing their mobile phones inside the classroom.

This move does not come as a surprise as France’s President, Emmanuel Macron pledged this during his campaign. The new ruling will apply to children in primary school up to age fifteen.    

Mobile phones tools or distractions?

This announcement has already ignited a number of debates. Beginning with the potential logistics nightmare this ban would impose on teachers and school administrators. To questions about this stance obstructing opportunities for digital education at school.

Studies show that too much screen time for children hinders their development and results in “decreased cognitive and language development, reduced academic success, and even short-term memory and social skills are negatively impacted”.

Le Monde reported that some teachers in reaction to this ban contend that the controlled use of mobiles has real advantages for children. Such as taking “a picture of a painting when they have not had time to copy the course” or “use it to search for information”.

Author: Julia Zvobgo

Julia Zvobgo is a Cultural Anthropologist and the Community Manager of Child in the City.

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