Is it okay to ban cell phones at school? Why are so many people concerned about this? What is the current situation regarding this issue in countries around the world?
In Britain, more than nine out of ten institutions prohibit students from bringing their smartphones to class.
In the UK, over 90 percent of teenagers have cell phones, in the United States, around 75 percent of students have cell phones.
Some time ago no headmaster would ever have thought of such a measure, but only because mobile phones were not omnipresent: in 2001 in Britain no school forbade them, in 2007 half of schools banned them and now 98 percent of schools oblige students to deliver them at the beginning of the day.
In Italy, the use of mobile phones at school is prohibited by the directive of 15 March 2007, committing all schools to regulate use at school, with an explicit prohibition during lessons.
Schools cannot keep the cell phone seized after the end of the teaching activity, but, in cases of incorrect behavior of the pupil, it can also decide to return it directly and exclusively to the parents.
The prohibition to use the mobile phone, during lessons, also applies to teachers.
What happens in the rest of the world?
France, for example, has banned the use of gadgets and smartphones since 2018, from kindergartens to high schools.
And this also happens in Germany, the United States, Australia and in some schools in Switzerland.
The choice is left to individual institutions also in Spain and Sweden. In Germany, however, the regulations vary not only depending on schools, but also on the local authority.
What are the reasons?
Reason #1 – Gadgets Are a Source of Distraction
Of course, a pen and paper may also distract you. However, if you can play with your smartphone under the desk, your school performance will be affected. Obviously, your focus is not on learning. In other words, many students use cell phones improperly during the lectures. And that’s a big issue.
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Reason #2 – Eliminate an Excuse for a Lower Performance
To justify the ban, the smartphone is accused of being the source of all evil, even of greatly reducing student performance. Those who show bad performance at school can then say that it’s all the fault of the cell phone. Indeed, to justify a disastrous school performance, perhaps you can show that you have more than one mobile phone.
Schools, however, can and must teach students that a smartphone is a tool that sometimes must be used, sometimes it must be turned off, other times it must be limited to some features.
This helps students graduate and vary their use, not to be dependent on it, know how to communicate with classmates and teachers in a chat or in a shared group.
Reason #3 – A Negative Impact on Learning Activities
No doubt, a mobile phone can be a cause of disturbance and loss of concentration.
If you have a closer look at this issue, you’ll see that the problem is not in cell phones. The problem is in how students use them.
I refer, for example, to the distraction of frequent notifications, or to the fact that its abuse discourages the in-depth reading of the text, in favor of feed scrolling on social media networks, net surfing between the links, etc.
Reason #4 – Other Bad Consequences of Uncontrolled Use of Smartphones
High-tech bullying, favored by increasingly powerful and almost ubiquitous cameras, should be also condemned.
The use of the mobile phone that puts the physical proximity of the human relationship in the background to which the response to the remote calling and notification is systematically prioritized should be reported.
There is excessive use of mobile phones by children aged 15 to 20. Just think about it! More than half of teenagers have such an addiction that they check their cell phones at least 70 times a day.
Indeed, there are even those who check their gadgets more than 100 times a day. It means they are active for more than 15 hours on mobile each day.
The dependence is such that even at school it becomes a serious problem and there are many institutions that are forced to switch to hard actions such as having them delivered at the entrance or keeping them off during lessons and recreation.
There are cases of absolute prohibition in all areas of the school, even in the gym.
The purposes are always personal and include the use of chats, social networks, and games, but also the possibility of cheating during classwork or questions.
The ban can also limit the phenomenon of cyber-bullying.
In a technical institute, the beginning of the lessons coincides daily with the collecting of smartphones and other electronic devices in special cases, supervised by teachers and pupils until the end of the day.
The only possible derogation is linked to the request of the professor, who motivates the use of the smartphone with a specific question, to encourage teaching.