Earlier this month, England’s Education Minister announced a plan to prevent children from using phones during the entire school day.
“We know that mobile phones are a source of distraction and bullying in the classroom,” Gillian Keegan shared in a government tweet. “Yet, 40% of 14-year-olds report that their lessons were disrupted by phones. So today, we’re banning phones in schools.”
That sounds stronger than it is, as schools will simply be given “guidance” to ban phones, and it remains up to the schools to enforce it. But the ban includes barring phone use during breaks and between classes.
According to coverage by TheMessenger.com, China and France have similar policies, and the Netherlands will be following too. In Canada, only Ontario has restrictions on cellphones in school, banning them during instructional time. The province reported that 97% of the parents, students, and educators they consulted said there should be restrictions.
Phones aren’t only a distraction, they also are rewiring young and old minds alike, making it difficult to concentrate or listen.
One public school in BC has banned phones from the classroom and saw some very positive results after just five months. Chatelech Secondary School counsellor Tulani Pierce reported:
“We are seeing improved mental health, we’re seeing decreased bullying, we’re seeing more engagement in class, we’re seeing more social interaction, kids are playing again instead of being on their phones and we’re seeing increased academic success.”
Most children won’t have the ability to regulate their own media usage. They need responsible adults to set boundaries. Like a fence around a swimming pool, these restrictions are not an imposition but an act of love and care (Eph. 6:1-3).