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France Intending to Ban Smartphones in Schools



On Sunday, France’s education minister announced that mobile phones will be banned from primary, junior, and middle schools, calling it a matter of “public health.” While phones are already prohibited in classrooms in France, starting in September 2018 students won’t be allowed to use them on breaks, at lunch, or between lessons either.

“These days, the children don’t play at break time anymore,” Jean-Michel Blanquer said, according to the Local, an English-language publication. “They are just all in front of their smartphones and from an educational point of view, that’s a problem.”

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/12/france-is-banning-mobile-phones-in-schools


Comments

  • GrumpyGuyGrumpyGuy Member
    edited December 2017
    Hopefully France also intends to increase funding for extra-curricular activities so that students have compelling activities to pursue during their lunch hours.  Poorly-funded clubs and teams led by overworked and underpaid teachers aren't exactly exciting prospects for young people.

    I'm not a big fan of bans, however, and I think this is excessive.  Lack of compelling activities aside, I understand another reason why kids prefer communicating via mobile devices:  privacy.

    I don't mean Internet privacy, but rather privacy from school faculty.  Online, you can talk about anything you want without being overheard by nosy teachers.  Smartphones grant them freedom of a sort that school faculties, governments and often parents don't want kids to have.  Schools are otherwise surveillance states now, with overzealous faculty, draconian rules, cameras and even police in many places.

    Take away that freedom and are kids really going to become "better?"  Are they instead going to become resentful, rebellious and uncooperative? 

    No doubt France will face issues a few years from now as a result of this, and the experts will scratch their heads then drum up some reason why it's all the students' fault.
  • It will be hard on the kids.  I remember back in the 70's, when they took my smart phone away.  Oh wait!  We didn't have smart phones, we had to actually do things to entertain ourselves.  We didn't get to sit around during recess and work on getting fat while we exercised our thumbs instead of our bodies.

    If the politicians treat people this poorly when they're armed to the teeth,

    just imagine what they'll be willing to do once they've disarmed everyone.

  • As a bonus French kids may now manage to reach adulthood without scoliosis from hunching over their phones.  The image up top shows the leaning toward that.
    Smart phones appear to be another example of peer group pressure toward consumerism.  Why else do phone manufacturers never cease bringing out new models.
    Back in the olden days my mum had one phone which was used by everyone - rarely.

    "We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves."

  • GrumpyGuyGrumpyGuy Member
    edited December 2017
    tazweiss said:
    It will be hard on the kids.
    The thing is, it will be hard on the kids.  To be fair, you didn't grow up with those devices whereas the high school kids probably don't have memories of what it was like before they were everywhere (something that is completely not their fault, as some people seem to imply with their criticisms). 

    For those kids, chat and social media apps on smartphones are one of their default methods of communication.  That's just how life is for them.  Taking away the devices that connect them to their social networks and to media and information is in a very real sense handicapping them.  And for what?  An alternative they're going to see as alien, outdated and completely inferior, and foisted on them for bogus-sounding reasons that will never be explained in a way they can understand or derive value from.

    Grey-haired government people banning their devices during their break times is saying, "Your way of life is inferior to ours, so now we're going to take it away and force you to behave the way people did in our nostalgic recollections of four decades ago."

    To me, that is unjust and hypocritical.  Adults spend just as much time on mobile devices as teens do.  In many cases, probably more.  They are going to be expected to be always-online and always-connected by their future bosses, colleagues and customers.  Who doesn't even have a smartphone now, besides the elderly, technophobes, social outcasts and a handful of assorted holdouts?  Just look at this figure:



    What should the people in charge really be doing?  Should they be slapping kids in the face for daring to evolve their social lives to align with their present and future realities, or should they instead be coming up with new ways to educate kids who have different ways of thinking, different abilities and completely different future potential?

    Will forcing today's youth to to fall back in line with our 19th century education system prepare them for life in the 2020s and 2030s, or will it leave them handicapped, confused and grasping for handouts from a system that has left them behind?

    I'm not a fan of smartphones - don't get me wrong.  I choose not to use them for a combination of stubborn emotional reasons and because I sit on my ass in front of a computer during most of my free time (is that really any different?  In my case I'm rarely even communicating with anyone, so that's arguably worse). 

    That said, I hate, hate, hate when people try to force obedience upon me because they think they know a better way.  I hated it as a kid, as a teen, as a young adult and still hate it today, years later. 

    Would I mind seeing fewer smartphones every time I leave my house?  No, not at all.  What I really wouldn't mind, however, is seeing fewer lazy plans from clueless relics about how to stuff youth back into a mold that is cracked and being held together with chewing gum and a bobby pin.

    Seriously, that's really lazy on their part.  They're lawmakers, role models and leaders, yet the best answer they can come up with to address mobile device use is, "Let's just take it away!  Out of sight, out of mind."
  • GrumpyGuy said:
    Adults spend just as much time on mobile devices as teens do.  In many cases, probably more.  They are going to be expected to be always-online and always-connected by their future bosses, colleagues and customers.  Who doesn't even have a smartphone now, besides the elderly, technophobes, social outcasts and a handful of assorted holdouts?  Just look at this figure:


    You are spot on with various points.  In fact I have two smartphones - because if I lose one I can ring it up with the other and find it!   That cost no more than the one phone did with a more expensive provider plus ditched the landline. However I will not let it rule me when I'm driving or have it on me all the time.

    I believe smartphones are ok for over 13yo, in school breaks and before and after school but not in class and that's whats happening. In some instances  they look at them under the desk.  From what teachers say the kids are sexting each other and in some cases cyber bullying is going on or things are being broadcast round the school that were said in confidence. That happened to my grand daughter and she was devasted when something she said got round the whole school and onto Facebook as well.

    Yes it is parents fault that children get phones when they're too young to handle them maturely and  some allow toddlers to play games on them so they grow up thinking they should be able to use them constantly like a toy.  Kids can't generally afford their own or even sign up themselves so it has to sit fair and square with parents.

    "We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves."

  • GrumpyGuyGrumpyGuy Member
    edited December 2017
    I realized I was a bit overdramatic above when I said taking away smartphones would turn them into jobless wastes. 

    I think it's better to instead say that taking away their phones will lead to greater resentment to authority and an even worse addiction to their phones, which will materialize in their hands the moment they walk out the school door.  It will be like a smoker getting off an 8-hour flight and rushing for a smoking area to sate their withdrawal symptoms.  While in class they'll be distracted by the desire to check their inboxes.  Is that good?  An office I worked at banned phones at desks, and people often cast glances at the phone deposit box, had lapses of concentration, and even anxiety attacks.  One person stole their phone while the supervisor wasn't looking.

    France will have to communicate to the kids why this is the best move for them (which I don't think it is) in a way that the kids will understand, otherwise it's going to end poorly.  Can they do that?  My experiences as a student and anecdotes I've heard from people who were students in different generations, tells me - probably not.

    And Rosie - yes, parents are definitely at task for teaching their children how to responsibly use tools, and to model constructive behaviour. 

    As for age limits, I don't think those are needed if parents are doing their jobs.  The consequences are pretty dire in some cases.  What if your 10-year-old is the only kid in their class without a smartphone?  It will destroy their social life.  I was "the only kid" in a number of ways because my mother preferred easy rules over thoughtful plans, and it ruined me in many ways.
  • Matt_ADMIN_Matt_ADMIN_ Administrator
    It feels weird sometimes that I'm of the last generation that knew life before the world wide web existed, and have experienced life both before and after the Internet/smart-age
    -------------------
    "...Say, 'GOD is sufficient for me.' In Him the trusters shall trust." (Quran 39:38)
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