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France Has Banned Students From Using Smartphones At School

France has gone the extra mile to combat cell phone addiction and encourage face-to-face social interactions by banning any children under the age of 15 from using smartphones while at school, CNN reported.

The new policy officially went into effect in September 2018 and has since inspired some schools across the U.S. to adopt similar bans in an effort to help students connect with each other outside of a phone screen.

The French law passed with a vote of 62 to one and includes all students between the ages of 3 and 15.

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As per the ban, smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches must be kept off for the duration of the school day or placed inside a locker. Using those devices is strictly prohibited while on school grounds, with exceptions made for disabled students, extracurricular activities, and for "pedagogical use."

"This isn't a 21st century law in our eyes, but a law from the era of news channels and binary debate," Alexis Corbière, a deputy from the left-wing Unbowed France party and a former teacher told CNN.

France's education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, dubbed the law a "detox measure."

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"We want children to rediscover the real, that connection to the concrete, to nature, to doing things with their hands, to contact with other human beings," he told the Wall Street Journal. "We’re not seeking to reject technological progress — that would be absurd — but to master it, to make sure man is the master of the machine."

Since the law was passed in France, schools in America have begun adopting similar policies and are actually seeing huge success in these device bans.

Just this year, an Alaskan high school implemented a new policy where students must hand over their phones at the beginning of each day.

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At the end of the day, students at Lumen Christi High School in Anchorage have their phones returned, a process that school officials have said has eliminated a huge distraction from the classrooms.

"The kids are more focused, they put more effort into their work, and they are friendlier," staff member Antje Carlson told KTVA.

Other schools in Michigan have adopted similar policies to limit cell phone use in schools.

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In California, Govenor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 272, which encourages school districts to develop their own policies to limit or prohibit students from using their smartphones at school.

"Growing evidence shows excessive smartphone use at school interferes with a student’s education and success, encourages cyberbullying, and contributes to teenage anxiety, depression, and suicide,” said Assembly member Al Muratsuchi.

"This new law will encourage school districts to develop their own policy that strikes a balance between allowing appropriate student use of smartphones at school, while making sure that smartphones are not interfering with a student's educational, social and emotional development."

h/t: CNN, KTVA

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