Many French students will have their social media scrolling forcibly ended during school hours this upcoming year, after French lawmakers voted to ban smartphone use in schools.
On Monday, lawmakers decided that students under the age of 15 must leave their cellphones at home, or at least have them turned off during the school day. French high schools will be allowed to decide whether they implement the ban in their classrooms.
The measure prohibits the use of tablets, computers, and other internet-connected devices as well. There are exceptions in place for students with disabilities and for the educational use of devices in the classroom and in extra-curricular activities. This was a campaign promise of French president Emmanuel Macron, and after the measure was passed he tweeted, “Commitment held.”
L’interdiction générale des téléphones portables dans les écoles et les collèges a été définitivement adoptée par l’Assemblée nationale aujourd’hui.
Engagement tenu ✅
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) July 30, 2018
This new measure isn’t France’s first foray into banning cellphone use. In 2010, the use of smartphones was prohibited “during all teaching activity,” according to a report from CNN. And earlier this year, the lawmakers banned texting in your car even when you’re pulled over on the side of the road.
“This isn’t a 21st-century law in our eyes, but a law from the era of news channels and binary debate,” Alex Corbière, a deputy from the left-wing Unbowed France party told CNN yesterday. “In reality, the ban has already been made. I don’t know a single teacher in this country that allows the use of phones in class.”
Last December, the French government announced this ban as an attempt to send a “public health message,” as officials believed kids shouldn’t be spending as much time as they do on their devices.