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France To Ban Mobile Phones In Schools (theguardian.com) 191

The French government is planning to ban students from using mobile phones in the country's primary, junior and middle schools. While children will be permitted to bring their phones to school, they will not be allowed to get them out at any time until they leave, even during breaks. The Guardian reports: Jean-Michel Blanquer, the French education minister, said the measure would come into effect from the start of the next school year in September 2018. It will apply to all pupils from the time they start school at age of six -- up to about 15 when they start secondary school. Blanquer said some education establishments already prohibited pupils from using their mobiles. "Sometimes you need a mobile for teaching reasons [...] for urgent situations, but their use has to be somehow controlled," he told RTL radio. The minister said the ban was also a "public health message to families," adding: "It's good that children are not too often, or even at all, in front of a screen before the age of seven." The French headteachers' union was skeptical that the ban could be enforced.
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France To Ban Mobile Phones In Schools

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  • by evanh ( 627108 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @05:04AM (#55722989)

    Right from the start, I was completely surprised that any school anywhere has ever allow them.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @05:09AM (#55723001) Homepage

      Good idea, as long as they also get rid of this:

      Sometimes you need a mobile for teaching reasons

      You can't have it both ways.

      • "Teaching Reason" in France's schools is mostly lessons on how to configure your apps and manages your identity and privacy on socials networks.
      • by pots ( 5047349 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @07:39AM (#55723431)
        I don't follow. "Both ways"? The idea is that phones are banned because they're disruptive, but allowed in certain tightly controlled situations when they are important for a lesson. Both ways of what?
        • by fubarrr ( 884157 )

          It is not about that.

          As I understood, they are doing that under influence of people saying that "cellphones give you brain cancer"

          • by pots ( 5047349 )
            Huh. Well that would certainly be dumb, but... I've read the article now and it didn't really say much about the reason. Other than the usual "too much screen time is bad for you." I guess I jumped to my own conclusion about that.
          • No, you're the one introducing that into the conversation.

            See also: "The Rule of Goats"

            https://twitter.com/popehat/st... [twitter.com]

      • Oh my god! How did they ever teach without phones? Seriously though, not all the kids have them either. So those kids should get left out?
      • Good idea, as long as they also get rid of this:

        Sometimes you need a mobile for teaching reasons

        You can't have it both ways.

        Sure you can. That's exactly what my kids' school does. It works fine.

    • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @06:22AM (#55723203)

      Right from the start, I was completely surprised that any school anywhere has ever allow them.

      "I need to be able to reach my child in an emergency!"

      "My child is special. He/She must be permitted to carry their cell phone."

      The blame lies more with smartphone-addicted parents than the school. And schools often succumb to what parents want, not common sense. In reality, the parents are doing nothing more than creating pathetic excuses to justify paying for a smartphone for their 8-year BFF (a.k.a. their child)

      We're also dealing with parents who treat smartphones like it's their left arm, so no surprise their kids consider a smartphone and social media access as vital as breathing.

      • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @06:45AM (#55723275)

        "I need to be able to reach my child in an emergency!"

        That's why they have an administrative office. You call there and they go contact your child if necessary. Worked just fine for 100 years. There is no educational value in allowing access to cell phones of any sort during the day. If there is an odd circumstance where a child really does need to carry their phone during class hours due to some special circumstance then the parent can arrange that through the school administration on a short term basis.

        The blame lies more with smartphone-addicted parents than the school.

        There is Truth in this. The basic question to ask is "what educational purpose is being fulfilled by allowing access to smartphones during school hours?" If there isn't one then there is no reason to allow them.

        • Also what type of emergency is so important that your kid needs to know right away? I can see the kid calling you for an emergency because you have the power and authority do something about it. But if you have an emergency the last person I would call is my kid, because there isn't much they can do about it. Leave a message to the Admin office and they will call you to the office either right away if is that important, or between classes if it isn't.

        • I agree with the Admin office solution. However my school system is a ridiculous failure in this regard. First, the admin office stops answering the phone within ten minutes of school ending for the day. Second the bus system apparently doesn't have much of a maintenance budget because my kids bus breaks down a few times every school year, which can mean they get home up to an hour and a half late. When your kid is late getting home there is no number we can call to find out what is going on. The school act

      • "I need to be able to reach my child in an emergency!"

        "My child is special. He/She must be permitted to carry their cell phone."

        It's the other way around - the child need to be able to reach his/her parents, in case of emergencies. No, using school facilities is not an option because quite often bullying is more or less 'protected' by the school, and extreme situations would have ended quite differently if parents have a direct knowledge of school-sponsored or encouraged bullying. Before Columbine it was quite normal to allow 'jocks' to bully 'nerds' or other groups that didn't conform to the schools idea of wholesome lives. Today we've seen a rise in religious bullying where non-christian (especially atheistic) students are openly bullied by other students and teachers alike for 'not believing' or 'not accepting God'. It is optimal to report incidents as they happen as many seem to lose the courage as the day goes by so they're quiet when they come home from school.

        • As a kid bullied in school. If I didn't feel going to the school officials for help, I wouldn't want to go to my parents either.
          Still if you are being bullied what are your parents going to do, other than being bullied as a Mommas boy.
          The kid is quite when they come home not because they had lost courage, but they feel that they need to be tough enough to deal with it themselves.

          • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

            Ditto. I fortunately had a perceptive mother, who got it out of me that I was being pestered by a couple of bullies on the way home from school frequently during my freshman year of HS. She spoke with my coach who had a couple of my senior teammates address the issue, and I was never bothered again. Sometimes a little peer pressure can be a good thing.

      • We're also dealing with parents who treat smartphones like it's their left arm, so no surprise their kids consider a smartphone and social media access as vital as breathing.

        I take a strong "do as I say not as I do" in these situations.

    • Right from the start

      Whitelist vs blacklist. It surprises me that you're surprised that schools don't ban absolutely everything new. Did you go to school in a monastery?

    • For us old guys like me. Parents often gave kids pagers so they can contact them in case of emergency, and the kid during his free time would use the payphone to call them back to figure out what is up. While some schools put a ban on them, because they used them for drug dealing during school hours, for the most part they were a tool for the parents to keep tabs on their kids. Kids during this time may brag if the pager actually had messaging on it, however just having a pager was a status symbol, that y

    • Right from the start, I was completely surprised that any school anywhere has ever allow them.

      When I was in school they were banned as being "Drug Paraphernalia". Even back then, that was a little bit ridiculous (not that they were banned, but that they were labeled drug paraphernalia). Nothing as disruptive as a phone should be allowed in school at any time whilst school is in session. I can't think of one legitimate education reason why kids should use cell phones whilst class is in session, nor should they rely on them during breaks. I think a school day without a cell phone could only be a g

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @05:21AM (#55723035)

    I predict that French schools will have a serious lack of empty toilets in the foreseeable future. And for a change, it's not because of the quality of the cafeteria lunch.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @05:23AM (#55723045)

    You had to have it on silent (not vibrate). If you got it out the teacher took until the end of class.

    • Hm. So either you can't use it until the class is over, or you try to hide it under your desk, and if you get caught ... you can't use it until the class is over.

      I suspect I know which choice a lot of the kids made...

      • by PPH ( 736903 )

        and if you get caught ... you can't use it until the class is over

        Or you can't use it until you pick it up in the principal's office at the end of the day. Or you can't use it until your parents pick it up in the principal's office. Lots of different options.

    • by bazorg ( 911295 )

      I wonder if in the USA the quasi-automatic gun shooting starts when the student gets the phone taken away, or when the parents of the student hear about it?

  • Totally agree! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Aethedor ( 973725 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @05:49AM (#55723127) Homepage

    As a parent, I totally agree with this. My eight year old son is already asking about when he gets his own mobile phone. Some friends of him already have one! Insane! Kids at that age are not ready for the internet and communication like that. If they learn to communicate via digital devices instead of directly, they miss essential things like non-verbal communication. This will seriously affect them if you ask me.

    I know I can't go around giving him a mobile phone when he goes to high school, otherwise he will be left out of a lot of social events. This nation wide ban removes the difficult discussion between schools and parents. I wish they would do this in my country too.

    • by bsolar ( 1176767 )

      If they learn to communicate via digital devices instead of directly, they miss essential things like non-verbal communication. This will seriously affect them if you ask me.

      Today learning to communicate not directly is just as essential as learning to communicate directly. Not learning both forms of communication properly will definitely affect them.

    • Kids at that age are not ready for the internet and communication like that.

      That's quite plainly not true and I see hundreds of children almost daily that handle it just fine. What they are not ready for is UNSUPERVISED access to online communications. They are perfectly capable of handling it with a bit of guidance. Furthermore given how important the internet is and will continue to be, to withhold access to learning about such tools is actually likely harmful to them in the long run. I would argue that trying to nerf their world actually does more harm and I have seen that p

      • by jittles ( 1613415 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @10:15AM (#55724475)

        Kids are more resilient than you give them credit for. That said I think that the French ban sounds like an excellent idea. Smartphones are nothing but a distraction during the school day. They can play with them as much as they want after school hours.

        Not my child. My child is a fragile, delicate masterpiece without flaw. I must hover over my child 24/7 to prevent any teacher, adult, child, or government organization from implying that my little piece of perfection might have a flaw. In order to do this, they must text and call me constantly throughout the day so that I can verify that no one is making such absurd allegations.

    • I agree it's insane for an 8 year old to have a phone, but it's not too many years away from when it is no longer insane.

      When I was a kid, you took some coins with you to use a payphone if you got into trouble (and could find a payphone...). That pretty much worked as contrary to pop hysteria there actually ISN'T a sex predator waiting behind every lamp post to abduct your kid. However, if you can give your kid a portable communication device so they can reach you more or less at will... why wouldn't you?

      • In actual emergencies, you didn't need quarters you'd just dial 0 and make a "collect call" and your parents would get the charge on their phone bill.

        Actually, the rarity of collect calls showed how non-emergency most of the "emergencies" that people imagine needing a cell phone for are.

        • >In actual emergencies, you didn't need quarters you'd just dial 0 and make a "collect call" and your parents would get the charge on their phone bill.

          I have only the vaguest recollection of receiving a collect call once from my father when he was on a business trip abroad. By the time it was my turn to call home, I had a calling card to reduce the billing rate... and it wasn't long after that (reasonably sized) cell phones became common.

          >Actually, the rarity of collect calls showed how non-emergency

  • and also outlawed rude behavior, they'd really making a positive change. Then again, they'd loose a well know internationally recognized trait.

  • Neo-Luddism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Max_W ( 812974 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @06:33AM (#55723241)
    It would be better to teach students the etiquette of modern communication.

    For example, not to talk loudly and continuously over the telephone in public transport.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Nope. Kids don't need to have 24/7 access to a device with access to the internet that parents have no way of monitoring.
      That's not luddism. That's just good parenting.
      Next you're going to tell me not letting your 5 year old watch porn is neo-puritanism.

    • It would be better to teach students the etiquette of modern communication.

      Isn’t that the parents' job? Should schools do that too?

  • All other EU countries + the 16 federal states of Germany should follow.

    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      While I agree that this seems to be a good idea, sometimes it's good to incubate experiments in one location before going all in. It's one of the few advantages of having 50 states in the US...you can see what worked elsewhere...and what didn't. Unfortunately for us, we let our partisanship get in the way of right v. wrong too often.

  • Schools should put up their own local cell tower that only routes to 911 or the head office if the call is detected to come from within the borders of the school property, unless it's a registered faculty phone number.

    This is something that is possible to do, BTW, not just a pipe dream. It stops kids from wasting time on their phones in class, but still allows for emergency calls.

    • Schools should put up their own local cell tower that only routes to 911 or the head office if the call is detected to come from within the borders of the school property, unless it's a registered faculty phone number.

      That wouldn't work for almost countless reasons. First, it's a very Big Brother sort of solution which would almost certainly draw lawsuits if they tried to implement it. Second, schools are not just for children. I'm on staff at my local school part time. We have community education activities going on all the time which involve people who aren't students. We have parents, guardians, grandparents and other relatives visiting for various reasons. Third, it is quite an unreasonable administrative burd

      • >. First, it's a very Big Brother sort of solution which would almost certainly draw lawsuits if they tried to implement it.

        So will not having the ability to call 911 if someone's hurting kids.

        > Third, it is quite an unreasonable administrative burden to try to get everyone who might possibly visit a school to register their phone with a school.

        People still have to check in when entering a school (they're generally not free and open to the public). An extra few seconds for tradesmen to put their phon

        • People still have to check in when entering a school (they're generally not free and open to the public). An extra few seconds for tradesmen to put their phone number into the system isn't a huge burden.

          Yes it is. Because their phone is not functional until they check it in. Furthermore there is no compelling reason to ban the phones of anyone who is not a student. It only serves to inconvenience people who don't need to be inconvenienced. Not to mention it is dangerous. There would be no way to not block people who are merely driving by the school. Radio towers don't respect property lines. How do you plan to ensure the cell tower does not affect those who are 1 foot off school grounds?

          Boo hoo. Live without your electronic leash for a bit. If you're really that important, people will reach you through the school's office.

          Grow up. El

      • No, it is MUCH simple to just forbid the students from taking a phone out of their locker during the school day.

        The problem is, that would be hell to enforce. You would literally need teachers walking up and down the halls monitoring this. Teachers shouldn't be doing that.

        • The problem is, that would be hell to enforce. You would literally need teachers walking up and down the halls monitoring this. Teachers shouldn't be doing that.

          I bet you think that laws are ineffective if you don't have a policeman looking over your shoulder 24/7 as well, too.

          You don't need teachers monitoring every kid every moment. You just have a consequence when the teachers see a kid with a phone. (And for the kids who are smart enough to prevent the teachers from ever noticing ... well then, the phone isn't really a disruption anymore, is it?)

          • Well the phone is still a disruption no matter what, since the kid it using the phone when they should have their mind on school.
            • What's important is whether they are disrupting the learning of anyone else. You can't force someone to learn. Kids have been tuning out their teachers forever; phones have nothing to do with that.

              • Phones sure as hell help with that. Have you ever tried to communicate with a teenager who is engaged in a smartphone?
        • The problem is, that would be hell to enforce. You would literally need teachers walking up and down the halls monitoring this. Teachers shouldn't be doing that.

          No it would not. Teachers already are monitoring for contraband. If they see it being used then there are consequences. Have you ever actually been around kids? Teachers don't walk around covering their eyes and ears. And if a kid manages to sneak in a phone, so what? It just not that big a deal.

          Here's why a whitelist system wouldn't work:
          1) No way to ensure that it only functions on school grounds and doesn't affect those off campus
          2) It creates all sorts of privacy problems and legal minefields that

      • I work in a 1970's built secondary school in the UK. The whole building is made from steel, producing a suprisingly effective faraday cage. I'll be honest, that design "oversight" has been one of the greatest assets of the building in the last 10 years.
  • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @07:41AM (#55723437) Homepage Journal

    Kids under 18 shouldn't even have phones other than ones tied to their parents' for the aforementioned emergencies. They also shouldn't have any access to social media in any way, shape, or form.

  • by aglider ( 2435074 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @08:17AM (#55723611) Homepage

    In Italy mobile phones are banned since 2012...

  • I took a group of Millennials (14-17) on a wilderness hike in 2015 and discovered they had such an attachment to their phones that they'd rather carry them than other important gear like a knife or extra flashlight batteries. Sad/interesting to watch them go through withdrawal over the 10 days on the trail with no cell coverage and no AC outlets. Solar was a little help but no coverage was a killer for these kids. They continually checked their mostly dead and disconnected devices looking for signs of li

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