French kids head back to school today without their iPhones

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In July the government banned mobile phone use in primary, junior and middle schools as a matter of “public health.”


From Quartz:

The ban is expected to change the way that a lot of students and families go about their days, since nearly nine out of 10 young people between 12 and 17 years old own a mobile phone in France (link in French)…

The French ban builds on available evidence that prohibiting phones and electronic devices in schools can improve academic performance. A study by researchers at the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics (pdf) found that, between 2001 and 2011, standardized test scores for 16-year-olds at 91 UK schools rose by 6.4% when those schools instituted bans on mobile phones. The authors of the study concludes that this improvement is the “equivalent of adding five days to the school year,” or adding an extra hour of school per week.

Below: Share of smartphone models sold in France during the month of January 2017, by model, via Statista.

france banned phones schools

My take: If you think this was a smart move, you can thank Napoleon. There are similar rules in some U.S. schools, but they are set by local governments, not by Washington.