France Bans Smartphones and Tablets from Schools Over Health Concerns
New ban will apply to all schoolchildren until the age of 15 from September
The French Government has banned all smartphones and tablets from schools for all children until the age of 15 under new legislation that comes into effect for the new academic year beginning in September.
The new law was voted through Parliament this week and will now make it illegal for a child to be in possession of a connected device whilst at school.
The phone ban will apply to all students in France up to the age of 15 over concerns for children's health when using devices for prolonged periods of time.
The new legislation fulfills a campaign promise by President Emmanuel Macron, but the move has been criticised by the opposition as a "publicity stunt."
Banning smartphones from schools is aimed at countering "screen addiction" in children and teenagers.
Daily Mail reports: Lawmakers of Macron's centrist LREM party and its allies gave final approval to the bill on Monday, while MPs on the left and right abstained from the vote.
The opposition has called the bill "cosmetic" and said it will not make any impact in real life.
Under the new law, all connected devices must be left at home or remain switched off until the end of the day.
Schools may make exceptions for "pedagogical use," extra-curricular activities, or for disabled pupils.
High schools can decide individually whether to impose a partial or total ban on connected devices.
A previous law, passed in 2010, already prohibited smartphone use during class.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said the earlier law did not apply across the board and lacked teeth, while the new law moves France "into the 21st century."
"It sends a message to French society" as well as countries around the world, he said.
Nearly nine in 10 French teens aged 12 to 17 own a smartphone.