The French Education Minister doesn’t think so
As important as cellphones are now in our daily lives, we aren’t alien to the argument that they are a huge distraction from things that matter- such as family, work, and school. Children now have their own cellphones and are busy taking selfies wherever and whenever. However, the French Education Minister has a problem with this.
The Education Minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, has banned cell phones for students up to 15 years of age. Cell phone repair businesses in France may have seen this headline in newspapers and it is all over the internet. Hence, the question is, should cell phones be allowed in schools? Do you agree with the French Education Minister or no?
When French students return to school after summer break, they’ll have to leave one of their most precious belongings at home — their smartphone. The new law has been voted through the French Parliament and seems like it is here to stay.
How will it be helpful?
“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 Blanquer.
Smartphones can present a considerable distraction to the student and his/ her nearby classmates. Distractions in the form of text messages, phone calls, unrestricted Internet access and entertaining applications waste a lot of their valuable time during class. It also means that they aren’t really learning the importance of interacting in person and developing their communication skills. Arguably, it can also hinder vocabulary development.
Additionally, there is also the concern for children taking inappropriate photographs, blackmailing others, and other forms of cyberbullying which have resulted in deaths in the past.
And according to the French Education Minister, this law will help students to build their social circle, do physical activities, talk and laugh together and hence result in less depression.
Applicability & Law Enforcement:
From the beginning of the next academic year, the new law will come into enforcement and applies to students up to 15 years old. For schoolchildren over 15, the schools will decide and announce whether to enact the ban or not. French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer says,
“The new legislation will help combat smartphone addiction among younger users.”
Before declaring this regulation and enforcing it on a national level, smartphones were already forbidden in classrooms and while lectures were in session. However, schools may make exclusions for ‘pedagogical use’, extra-curricular activities, and for students with disabilities.
What punishments will pupils face if they ‘break the law’?
Most schools currently confiscate the pupils’ phones if they are caught using them and their parents are required to come to the school to pick them up. But again, schools will be allowed to decide how to hand out punishments which may be more severe as this is not a school policy but equates to breaking the law.
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