From September 2019, French pupils and students have a choice on their way to school. Either leave their mobiles, smartphones, tablets, or smartwatches at home or turn them off. Secondary schools may also apply the complete ban or only partially.

MEPs agreed on a ban in June, and in July it was approved by the French Parliament. A strict ban was promulgated by President Emmanuel Macron in the election campaign, to the members of his En Marche! movement then he succeeded in pushing it in Parliament. The opposition criticizes the law because the prohibition on the use of mobile phones in schools has been in force in France since 2009, and the new standard does not make any difference to them.

But that’s not exactly true. So far, pupils and students have been unable to use mobiles in French schools only in lessons and the law has been valid for young people under the age of 14. The new standard also applies to one year for older students and allows it to be applied also at secondary schools, where its degree will be able to identify individual schools according to themselves.

In addition, pupils and students can not use mobile devices during hours or even breaks. The ban is paid on a flat basis at school and also at school events organized outside the campus.

In addition, the law applies not only to mobiles and to calling or writing SMS as it was in the original ban. This reflects the state of 2009, but today children have mobile phones instead of smartphones, and instead of calling and seeing, they use them to access the Internet and communicate via various messengers.

Therefore, the prohibition of use applies to all Internet devices, namely mobile phones, tablets, and smartwatches, but we also include some cameras, game consoles, and other devices. The law also lists exceptions to the ban. Mobile devices will be available if they need to be taught and do not apply to handicapped children.

The original law prohibiting the use of mobile phones in lessons was officially justified by the argument that cellular radiation can cause health risks. The new standard argues by dispersing pupils as well as social aspects, especially by protecting them from bullying. The ban should exclude shooting and filming videos that can offend children.

But similar videos or photos can be taken outside school grounds, so they definitely will not be eliminated. Conversely, pupils will not take photos of a school trip or sports event organized by the school.

A possible ban on using mobile phones at school is also being discussed in the Czech Republic. In the classroom, mobile devices should not be used except when they help in teaching. The rules are determined by individual schools, somewhere the mobile has to be switched off during the hours, somewhere during the breaks. But the total ban on France is not real.


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