This week, France’s Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer announced that starting next school year, all students, aged 6 to 15 will be banned from bringing phones into the classroom. This is the first nation-wide phone ban of its kind and makes good on a campaign promise made by President Emmanuel Macron.
Back in 2010, students in French elementary and secondary school were restricted from using their phones in the classroom but many educators claim that rule did not have any real effect. Why? Simple: If a kid has access to their phone, they will end up using it. This new ban takes things to more extreme measures.
“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,” said Jean-Michel Blanquer, France’s Minister of National Education in a statement.
According to The Telegraph, the harsher rule means students will not be allowed to look at their phones at all during school hours, including during lunch, and between classes. Blanquer pointed to the many, many studies that have indicated that screentime is dangerous for young kids and that schools must do their part to help kids not become addicted to their phone.
Given the number of young kids who now own phones, it may be difficult to completely ban kids from ever having their phones at school. This becomes especially tricky when parents are concerned about their child’s safety and feel a phone is the best way to contact them in an emergency. However, Blanquer says that he is open to making changes if a phone proves to be necessary for educational or safety purposes.