Though the country originally banned cell phone use “during all teacher activity” back in 2010, the new legislation means that students between the age of 3 and 15 will either have to leave their phones at home or keep them turned off during the school day.
However, teachers will have the freedom to decide whether they want to implement the ban with older students.
The law, which was introduced back in December as a part of President Emmanuel Macron’s key campaign promises, was approved 62 to 1, with only a few representatives abstaining from the vote. It will go into full effect in September.
“We know today that there is a phenomenon of screen addiction, the phenomenon of bad mobile phone use… Our main role is to protect children and adolescents. It is a fundamental role of education, and this law allows it,” said Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer on French news channel BFMTV.
Children are exempt from the ban in the case of disabilities, extracurricular activities, or if phones are required for teaching purposes, according to CNN. The ban also extends to tablets, computers, and other internet-connected devices.
The law is expected to have a host of sociological, psychological, and physical benefits. Since this French high school banned cell phones four years ago, students are talking and playing more at recess; the youngsters are active and engaged on school field trips, rather than staring at screens; and they say that they are closer with their friends as a result of conversing more with each other.
Additionally, the most recent study on extensive cell phone use shows that checking cell phones during lectures typically costs students half a grade on their final test scores. Another recent study stated that cell phone is likely linked to a dramatic increase in nearsightedness.