by WorldTribune Staff, December 14, 2017
France is hoping a new ban on mobile phone use in schools will encourage kids to play – not Candy Crush, but the actual kind of play that requires physical exertion.
“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,” French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told the Le Grand Jury TV program.
France already bans mobile phones from classrooms, but, starting next school year, will bar schoolchildren from using them between lessons and during breaks.
“Sometimes you need a mobile for teaching reasons … for urgent situations, but their use has to be somehow controlled,” Blanquer told RTL radio.
The ban will apply to all students from the time they start school at age 6 – up to about 15 when they start secondary school, Blanquer said, adding that “It’s good that children are not too often, or even at all, in front of a screen before the age of 7.”
Education officials are now studying how the mobile ban can be put into effect.
“In ministerial meetings, we leave our phones in lockers before going in. It seems to me that this is doable for any human group, including a class,” Blanquer said
During his election campaign, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to ban mobile phones in schools.
A group representing the parents of French schoolchildren, Peep, said it doubts a ban could be enforced.
“We don’t think it’s possible at the moment,” Gerard Pommier, the head of Peep, told reporters.
“Imagine a secondary school with 600 pupils. Are they going to put all their phones in a box? How do you store them? And give them back at the end?”