Earlier this year, Florida passed a law that would require public schools across the state to ban students’ cellphone use during class time. The new state rules reflect a growing global crackdown on young people and social media.
In early October, the British government issued new guidelines advising students against using cellphones Banned in schools across the country, Next came Italy, which was last year banned cellphone During the lesson, and China, which two years ago stop kids from using phone To school.
A UNESCO’s recent reportThe United Nations’ educational and cultural agency found that nearly one in four countries now have laws or policies banning or restricting student cellphone use in schools. Such restrictions generally make exceptions for students with disabilities and for approved educational uses by teachers.
Still, the crackdown on smartphones is controversial.
Supporters say the restrictions prevent students from scrolling through social media and sending threatening text messages, reducing distractions in the classroom. Critics warn that having students disconnect their phones could unfairly penalize those with jobs or family responsibilities — and that enforcing the restrictions could lead to harsher disciplinary measures like school suspensions.
Although there has been a significant reduction in cyberbullying incidents in some schools, there has been little research on the long-term effects of restrictions.
How did the ban begin?
School districts in the United States have been using phone bans for more than 30 years.
In 1989, like Sales of illegal drugs increased, Maryland passed a law It was made illegal for students to carry pagers and devices, then called “cellular telephones”, to school. Violators may face fines and jail time. In the 1990s, as more students took cellphones to school, districts also enacted restrictions to remove disruptive devices from ringing during classes.
In the early 2000s, after the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado and the September 11 terrorist attacks, schools began rolling back their cellphone bans for security reasons – so that students could contact their parents during emergencies. Can get permission to do so.
Restrictions soon increased again as schools tried to block new distractions in the classroom: iPhones and popular mobile apps like Facebook. According to this, as of 2010, more than 90 percent of schools banned students’ use of cellphones during school hours. federal data,
But concerns that many students from low-income families, who cannot afford their own laptops, were using cellphones for educational purposes have caused some school districts to reconsider. As of 2016, only two-thirds school Banned cellphones.
Since then, warnings about mandatory use of social media and cyberbullying have led more schools to enact bans. Last week, dozens of researchers and children’s advocates sent A letter to Secretary Miguel Cardona The education department has been asked to issue an advisory to schools across the country to ban cellphones.
Why are schools banning phones?
Youths have filmed violent school fights and posted the videos on TikTok. Students have also participated in social media challenges in which they have caused damage to school property.
In 2021, 16 percent of American high school students said they were bullied via text message or social media platforms like Instagram, up from 16 percent the previous year. A report this year From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some students are also getting troubled by social media notifications. a recent report Common Sense Media, which tracked nearly 200 youth with Android phones, found that participants typically received 237 cellphone notifications during the day — about a quarter of them during school hours.
Does banning cellphones in school work?
National reports on school cellphone bans present mixed results.
A federal survey Principals in 2016 found that schools with cellphone restrictions had higher rates of cyberbullying than schools that allowed cellphone use. (The report does not provide an explanation as to why schools with cellphone bans recorded higher cyberbullying rates.)
A study of Spanish schools published last year found Significant reduction in cyberbullying In two areas that had banned school cellphones. There was also a significant increase in test scores in one of those areas, math and science.
recently study in norway found that female students exposed to smartphone restrictions in middle school had higher average grades. But the study said the restrictions had “no impact” on boys’ average grades, perhaps because girls spent more time on their phones.
What should schools do?
A recent UNESCO report recommends that schools proceed with caution, consider the role of new technologies in learning, and base their policies on solid evidence.
The UN agency also suggested that exposure to digital devices such as cellphones could help students develop a critical lens on emerging technologies.
UNESCO said, “Students need to learn the risks and opportunities that come with technology, develop important skills and understand how to live with and without technology.” “Protecting students from new and innovative technology could put them at a disadvantage.”