French schools are banning phones in an attempt to detox children from an increasing addiction to screens. From September 2018, all nursery, primary and middle schools will ban mobile phone use. More than 90% of 12 to 17-year-olds are believed to own a mobile phone in France, and children were already banned from unauthorised use in class but, as in the UK, it was left to headteachers to decide whether to limit phones in breaktime.⠀
“No phone use at school gives pupils a moment’s peace from social networks and some children tell us they appreciate that,” said the headteacher of La Gautrais middle school which banned the use of mobile phones in 2014. Headteacher Yves Koziel said “On social networks there’s an acceleration and extreme simplification of group relationships which can create conflict, even bullying. We’re freeing them from that – at least during the day.” Koziel said he was pleased to see children returning to “ordinary things”, such as chatting, games and breaktime clubs and activities including dance and knitting. “I think children are more available for social interaction when they’re obliged to really speak to each other,” he said.