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France bans personal smartphones and tablets in schools

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  • A new French law prohibits the use of smartphones and tablets in school.
  • The intention of the law is to help curb smartphone addiction and preserve the classroom as a place of learning.
  • The law is similar to another French law that prohibits employers from requiring staff to always be “connected.”

French lawmakers passed a sweeping bill on Monday that effectively bans the use of smartphones and tablets in French school systems, we learned via The Washington Post.

According to the wording of the legislation, students under the age of 15 will no longer be able to bring personal smart devices into school, or at the least have them completely turned off throughout the school day.

Officials who support the bill say that the new law will help curb the increasing amount of screen time consumed by today’s youth as well as preserve the classroom as a place of learning.

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Before this policy became law, French students were barred from using smartphones and tablets during classroom hours but could use them between classes. And even though this new law bans smart devices outright, the wording does make exceptions for educational use, extracurricular activities, and for students with disabilities.

Benoît Hamon, a Socialist member of Parliament and a former French education minister, supported a similar law passed in France last year that requires French companies to draft rules that limit employers’ demands for off-the-clock technology work, like answering emails and text messages. Hamon told the BBC, “Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash, like a dog.”

As much as what Hamon says makes sense, it seems that today’s youth have the opposite problem of always wanting to be connected. I was 15 over 20 years ago, so I can’t imagine how different schools must be now with smartphones being everywhere. While I reckon it is extremely difficult to get kids to focus and not play on their phones, I don’t know how effective an outright ban will be.

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