France Has Banned Children Under 15 From Using Their Smartphones In Schools

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by Mayukh Saha,

Imagine a world without smartphones. Do you picture yourself in this world, or find it desirable to do so? I bet not! At least most of you don’t. I don’t. The one thing that we are most hooked to these days is our smartphone. I mean, after all, it makes life “easy”. Doesn’t it? You can call, text, send e-mails, watch videos and what not, all on a single handy device. That’s indeed a great thing. We are so damn addicted to these things, that many a times, we deny the huge price that we are paying for these “benefits” (and by price I don’t mean money). Let’s face it, smartphones are the roots of most distractions.

Especially when it comes to kids, it’s high time that we rethink their access to smartphones, at least in terms of the degree of access granted to kids. Having an unrestricted access to such devices is absolutely detrimental to a child’s learning, especially in the early stages. This is even true for all the “educational” content on the web.

Teachers, all around the globe, have expressed anxiety over the amount of smartphone usage by children in schools. They have tried to come up with different methods to stop children from using their phones in classrooms.

However, a few months back, France had taken a forward step in this regard. Under-15 children are now banned from using smartphones in schools. There was an existing law which banned such usage during the class hours, but the new law includes even break times. Moreover, the framers have been careful enough to include tablets and smartwatches, along with smartphones.

The law requires students to switch their phones off during the day and lock them off in the school lockers. An exclusion, however, has been cautiously made for children having disabilities. The schools have been given autonomy to decide if this would be enforced upon children over 15 years of age. Moreover, the school authorities have to come up with their own ways of separating students from their smartphones as, quite obviously, the ban in itself cannot stop students from secretly using smartphones.

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Now, it may sound regressive to many. Well, is it? Does progression ever mean embracing the wrongs as well? Not really. The world has to embrace future technologies and the lifestyle they inspire. Yet, this doesn’t mean that they have to accept the problems these things cause.

The French decision comes from the recognition of the harmful dependence of students on smartphones, plus the distraction. Jean-Michel Blanquer, France’s Minister of Education, commented that this is “a law for the 21st century”. He and the French administration, believe that this will make the French schoolchildren more disciplined.

Well, so much for the kids. Yet, the glaring fact remains that adults, as well, are in great need to reconsider their relationship with their smartphones. Apart from other issues, smartphones have been the cause of a great number of injuries in recent times. By injury, I don’t only mean vehicular accidents but also among pedestrians and others. A while back, US alone had reported 11,000 injuries suffered by distracted pedestrians.

So, in all, it would not be wrong to ask somebody to beware of too much smartphone. The material problems are not all. Considering deeply, you will find out that while you are busy gazing at the black mirror and feeding out of its hands, life is passing you by. You don’t speak with real people and they don’t speak with you. Slowly, yet steadily, you are moving away from your real world, only to live in the world of the smartphone. That’s scary, don’t you think?


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