Kids usually find it difficult to go back to school after a happy summer vacation. Everyone wants one more month to sleep in, text all day, play video games, take selfies, and have unlimited fun. No tight schedules yet, back to back lessons, school buses, long walks, detention, and P.E. The enthusiasm is usually as large as a grain of rice.
August 2018 had kids below the age of 15 in France literally dreading the idea of school. As the fulfillment of a pledge made during his campaign, President Macron proposed for the legislation of an indefinite ban on the use of phones in schools. The bill was passed in July 2018 and was implemented on August 5, 2018 .
The law was put in place to mitigate the level of distraction young students have to deal with in the classroom. The government also insists that kids are becoming over-dependent on their cellphones. Their social lives revolve around the digital social media. There’s strong hope that the ban will allow the kids to focus more on their studies and socialize better with one another.
The law is a strict one, totally forbidding the use of phones, tablets, iPods, smartwatches and several other technological gadgets during school hours. Much to the chagrin of the kids, the ban also covers recess and lunchtime periods. All school children below the age of 15 are affected by this law, which includes kids in junior high, middle school, elementary school, and Kindergarten (yes, kindergarten kids use phones in this generation too). The only exception to this law is kids with special needs.
A similar bill had already been passed in the year 2010, but it was a bit more lenient, considering the fact that recess and lunchtimes weren’t included. Also, the power of the law seems to have slackened over the years.
A law for the 21st century
The bill stipulates that school authorities are to decide if students over the age of 15 should be included in the ban as well. As long as a student is 1 day shy of his or her 15th birthday, they are prohibited from using their phones in the school . The law instructs that the phones be switched off and kept in lockers or left at home entirely. The schools will also have to decide appropriate punishments for students who break the law. The enforcement plan will also be strategized and implemented independently by each school’s administration.
Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer described the bill as “a law for the 21st century.” Embracing technological advancement isn’t the same as allowing it to completely take over every facet of human life and social interaction.
“Being open to technologies of the future doesn’t mean we have to accept all their uses,” he said.
So far, so good
Supporters of the bill are hopeful that it would limit antisocial behavior amongst young students. It will also clamp down on the rate at which kids view pornography, play video games, text, chat, and while away time on their phone during school hours.
Some parents are in full support of the law, while others are worried that they can’t keep tabs on their kids anymore.
Critics of the bill insist that while it will not only be difficult to implement, it will also make it impossible for parents to communicate with their kids during the day.
While many kids admit to breaking this law and sneaking their phones into the classrooms, the schools are hopeful that in no distant time, students will come to understand that the law was passed for their own good.