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Find out Why This Entire Country Banned Smartphones at School

By on August 8, 2018

Starting next month, French children will no longer be able to use their smartphones or tablets at school.

The new legislation, which was passed by lawmakers on Monday, prohibits the use of smartphones and other internet-connected devices for schoolchildren aged between 3 and 15, CNN reported on Wednesday.

French high schools with children aged 15 and older can choose whether or not to adopt the ban for their own students.

The ban includes phone or tablet usage between classes or during meal times. French media notes that, prior to the new legislation, smartphones have banned during class hours since 2010.

Schools in the country can make exceptions for disabled students, during extracurricular activities, or if tech devices are needed for learning, however.

The ban goes into effect in September.

Detractors of the ban say that it will change little in the actual country, while others cite the logistical issues with actually enforcing it. Though at least one parent suggested to The Guardian the use of signal jammers in schools.

Proponents of the ban, which include French President Emmanuel Macron, say that it’s an important step to curb smartphone usage, which has become a matter of public health concern in the country.

Many public health officials and other experts say that excessive smartphone usage may be fueling cyber-addiction, cyber-bullying and sleep disruption, among other health concerns.

“We know today that there is a phenomenon of screen addiction, the phenomenon of bad mobile phone use,” French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told BFMTV.

Nearly 90 percent of French children between the ages of 12 and 17 owned or otherwise had access to a smartphone in 2016. That’s up from 72 percent a decade prior.

Several studies that have been conducted on smartphones show the benefits of banning devices in schools. One study demonstrated that smartphone bans caused a clear improvement in test scores, CNN reported.

“Our main role is to protect children and adolescents. It is a fundamental role of education, and this law allows it,” Blanquer added.