France bans smartphones usage in schools as scientists warn of harmful effects of ‘nomophobia’ on children
With most of first world countries now paying great attention on healthy use of technology, the government in France has placed a ban on the use of digital devices in schools.
According to latest reports, the French Parliament voted with the great majority to bar students aged three to 15 years old from using tablets, smartphones and other digital devices in schools. Since 2010, school students in France were already restricted to use their personal digital devices during their instruction hours. The new law will be implemented from the new school term in September, however, disabled students will be an exception and it’s up to the institutions to decide whether to allow students above 15 years to bring digital devices to school or not.
According to latest studies, a new term, “nomophobia” has been named, referring to a phobia of being without a cellular phone. Nomophobia is being considered the highest growing fear in today’s societies that eventually leads to anxiety, depression, insomnia, cyberbullying, stress and is a the major reason for disrupted sleep in school-going children.
Many say the decision is part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s campaign promises before the elections, but there are many others who see the law as little more than a publicity stunt. Even if this is a profile-raising stunt by Macron, the French president, this will lead to an immense cut on smartphone usage in school-going children. Many French parliamentarians of both right and left wing consider the latest legislation as a good initiative to take limit the rising effects of nomophobia in kids and teens.
With 11% of the Pakistani population now in ownership of smartphones, Pakistan is a country where school students are allowed to bring smartphones and other digital gadgets to schools without any apparent restriction. Taking a cue from the French government’s decision, the Pakistani government as well as policy maker should seriously consider restricting, if not completely banning, the use of mobile phones in educational institutions.
As the new government aims to overhaul other segments of the country’s crumbling education system, it would be appropriate that the government also pays attention to the youth’s rising dependency on smartphones and help them steer away from the harmful effects of nomophobia.