Mobile phones now banned in French schools
The start of the new school year in France has brought with it a ban on mobile phones during school hours. It affects children in primary school and those aged 11-15.
This new ruling leaves children who are sixteen years and older free to make their own decisions.
Education rather than prohibition
As we previously reported, France’s Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer announced this ban would begin in September 2018. When the legislation was introduced, Blanquer said: “These days the children don’t play at break time any more, they are all just in front of their smartphones and, from an educational point of view, that’s a problem. That 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.”
Yet Stephen Corbett, Head of School of Education & Childhood Studies at the University of Portsmouth argues: “The solution is not prohibition, but education. This is not without its challenges – but if we are shaping the workforce of tomorrow then we have to consider how we prepare students to be part of it.”
Perspectives outside of France
A similar ban in New York schools was reversed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Before that it was not properly enforced across the different schools and Blasio argued the ban prevented parents and children from staying in touch during the school day. The Panel for Educational Policy approved the removal of the ban. Only time will tell if France’s nationwide mobile phone ban in schools will work.
Every day during the 9th Child in the City World Conference, September 24-26 2018 there will be one parallel session focusing on children and digital media. Starting with ‘Children’s perspectives’ on Monday, on Tuesday ‘Media literacy’ will be explored and on Wednesday the focus will be ‘Planning media projects’. Visit the conference website for the full programme and details of how to register.