France Bans Cellphones in School: Will Other Nations Do the Same?

Nick Crafa, Contributor

During the summer of 2018, the French government passed legislation prohibiting the use of cell phones in school. The law passed nearly unanimously, with 62 votes in favor of the ban to 1 against. The ban took effect at the start of the 2018-2019 school year and affected students in Kindergarten all the way to Ninth Grade. Although France is one of the first countries to take action regarding cell phone use in schools, other countries may begin to do the same.
A study published by the London School of Economics measured the effect banning mobile phones at school had on exam grades. The study showed that on average, students who attended schools with phone bans earned higher scores on assessments. This trend was especially true for lower-performing students.
There is, however, another side to the argument. In 2015, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio lifted the cell phone ban on New York City schools that his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, had enacted. De Blasio claimed that the ban had not been equally enforced across the City, and noted that many parents give their children cell phones to keep in touch.
Phone ownership statistics show that 90% of French children between the ages of 12 and 17 have mobile phones, roughly the same percentage as children in the US and UK. With this in mind, there’s no reason a cell phone ban wouldn’t work in either of these countries – it’s just a matter of taking action. While the statistics imply that the U.S could achieve what France has already done, it comes down to public opinion. Given the multitude of school shootings that have occurred in the last year, many parents don’t feel comfortable sending their children to school without a cell phone.
Even though France was able to introduce a cell phone ban in schools, the U.S might have a harder time doing so. With strong opposition toward a ban from parents and government officials, it may be awhile before we stop seeing cell phones in school.