If you are a child in France, you will no longer be permitted to use your mobile phone at school. This decision was made to stop the spread of violence, adult content and bullying.
The new ban affects all junior and primary schools in France, and it also rules out the use of tablets and smart watches. It is already in effect.
This rule came about as a result of a campaign pledge made by President Emmanuel Macron and is part of a new law passed in July.
There may also be partial or total bans instituted in high schools with children between 15-18 but it is not obligatory.
This is a rather controversial move but it will reduce distractions that often occur in the classroom. It will also encourage students to be physically active on break and combat the problem of bullying.
Marie-Caroline Madeleine, a 41-year-old mother, said she thought it was a good thing when she dropped her daughter off for the first day of school.
‘It’s a good signal that says “school is for studying”, it’s not about being on your phone.
‘It’s hard with adolescents, you can’t control what they see and that’s one of the things that worries me as a parent.’
90% of French children between the ages of 12-17 have mobile phones. It is hoped that the ban will stop the spread of adult content and violence among children.
Jean-Michel Blanquer, the education minister speaks highly of the new law, which he calls ‘a law for the 21st century’. As the bill was going through Parliament, he said ‘Being open to technologies of the future doesn’t mean we have to accept all their uses’.
There are also critics who say that it is difficult to enforce and is nothing more than a public relation exercise. The government is leaving it up to the schools to decide how the new rule should be implemented. They recommend that the phones are stored in the locker during the day but some schools don’t have lockers.
In some schools that have already stopped the use of phones, pupils are admitting that they break the rules.
Macron pledged to these types of reforms when he was elected last year. Education was not left out of the mix. In addition to the phone ban, he has already cut class sizes in half in disadvantaged areas to narrow the gap in grades between poor and wealthy areas.
There have also been a number of student sit-ins associated with access to universities in France.
This is not only a problem in France, it is a problem worldwide. Parents are becoming concerned about the amount of time that children are spending on their mobile devices.
Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York lifted a phone ban within city schools in 2015. He did so on security grounds, saying it was necessary for parents to have access to their children.