In schools all over France, smartphones will be banned as of September. The ban applies to students between the ages of 3 and 15 years of age. Older students can choose whether to comply with the ban, which also applies to other internet-connected devices such as tablets.
"We know today that there is a phenomenon of screen addiction, the phenomenon of bad mobile phone use... Our main role is to protect children and adolescents. It is a fundamental role of education, and this law allows it," said French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer on French news channel BFMTV. The ban was passed by a nearly unanimous vote by French lawmakers, fulfilling one of embattled President Emmanuel Macron’s campaign promises. Macron said during his campaign that he would institute a ban. The new law completely forbids forbid phone use between classes and even during meals. However, schools have the option to make 'pedagogical' exceptions.
"This isn't a 21st century law in our eyes, but a law from the era of news channels and binary debate," said legislator Alexis Corbière, who represents the leftist Unbowed France party. According to CNN, Corbière continued, saying that a ban was already in effect and referring to a 2010 law that banned the use of smartphones "during all teaching activity."
France had already approved a complete ban on smartphone usage for drivers (even those who move to the side of the road).
Citing health concerns, experts fear excessive mobile phone use and the internet may be fuelling cyber-addiction, sleep disruption and bullying. France's Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told LCI News that mobile phones might be a "technological advance," but they should not "monopolize our lives." Approximately 90 percent of children in France aged between 12 and 17 have their own smartphone. Addressing cyber-addiction in the French manner did not receive support among U.S. educators. In the U.S., American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said, according to Engadget, that cellphones are "an essential safety and security tool" that reassure parents during emergencies.