France Schools Go Phone-Free

 
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If I told my daughter that she, along with all of her friends, would need to leave their phones home from school, I imagine that she’d freak! And honestly, I may freak a little too. What if something happens and she needs me? Or… what if it means her education is enhanced because she left that little distracting plastic and metal device at home? France is rooting for the latter.

Last month when school went into session in France, students age 15 years old and under were not allowed to bring cell phones, tablets, or smart watches to school. Big move! What’s the goal?

“To help children focus on lessons, better socialize and reduce social media use,” according to France’s Education Minister. For children with disabilities–or in case of emergencies–exceptions can be made. (Phew! Call me girl.)

One school principal noticed positive effects right away, when instead of students standing on the playground staring at their phones they now interact together and play. “Schools that had previously banned phones said they had noticed more social interaction and empathy between children, and a readiness to learn at the start of lessons.” It’s hard to argue with that.

 
 Students talking to each other at a school in Brittany, France. Image via The Guardian.

Students talking to each other at a school in Brittany, France. Image via The Guardian.

 

I have a feeling if my daughter didn’t have her phone she’d do what I did growing up: she’d wait to talk to me when she got home, find another way to call if needed, and make the most of her IRL interactions. Developing greater empathy and social skills with her classmates would definitely be a win for life. Perhaps France is on to something!

Breathe' image is by artist Patrick Cabral for Tattly.

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Katrina Smith