Can your 13-year-old use their smartphone at school? If they lived in France, they wouldn’t be able to. The French government recently passed a law that bans students under 15 from using smartphones, tablets, or smartwatches during the school day, unless assigned to by a teacher. This applies to more than just class time – even at lunch or between classes, students are forbidden to use their phones.
What Does a Smartphone Ban Accomplish?
Unsurprisingly, French lawmakers want students to concentrate on their studies without being distracted – and smartphones are definitely a major distraction. However, previous laws already banned the use of smartphones during teaching activities. The latest version of the law takes things further, restricting teens from using their phones even during mealtimes, breaks, or between classes. Lawmakers are characterizing this as a public health message aimed at decreasing the dependence of teenagers on their smartphones.
There are some exceptions in place. Students can use smartphones or other devices if their teacher incorporates them into an assignment, and students with disabilities who need smartphones or tablets to accommodate their disabilities are also exempted from the rule. In general, however, the idea is to carve out a block of time the length of a school day where kids are not texting, using social media, or playing games online, and where they are both concentrating on their school work and communicating face-to-face with their peers and teachers.
Will Other Countries Follow Suit?
It’s likely that other governments and school systems will be watching to see how well the French model succeeds. Whether or not to ban smartphones in schools is a subject of some controversy – some advocate complete bans while other schools push for more inclusion of technology in schools, which has led to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies in some schools, where students are encouraged to bring in their smartphones and use them in class. Still others take an approach somewhere between all-out bans or all-out embrace of smartphones.
It’s not just educators and lawmakers who have strong opinions about smartphone use in schools – parents have their own opinions, and those concerns can vary widely based on location. In the United States, for example, students have used their smartphones to call 911, contact parents and friends, and record and broadcast evidence during mass shooting events. Parents concerned that their own children may be in that type of situation one day may be more likely to push for less-strict smartphone policies. In France, where school shootings are far less common, parents are less likely to have these concerns.
What Parents Need to Know
Is their smartphone distracting your child from their schoolwork?
Arguments can be made both for and against smartphone bans in schools, but either way, parents should familiarize themselves with the smartphone policies at their children’s schools and work to enforce those policies on their end.
Parental monitoring software can help parents keep track of their child’s smartphone use to help them determine whether or not their children are following school rules, and whether or not their children’s schoolwork is suffering as a result of too much smartphone use. To find out more about how parental monitoring software can help parents make sure that their children succeed in school, get our risk free trial.