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How smartphone ban in schools impacts students: Study

Mobile phones have been an everyday necessity, but more so an addiction among adults and children. With the rise and usage of smartphones, it’s an open secret that students sneak phones into classrooms with some testing the limits more than others. Given such cases, several European countries, including the United Kingdom, Norway, Netherlands, and France, have imposed a ban on smartphones in schools.

How smartphone ban in schools impacts students: Study

According to a study by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health titled ‘Smartphone bans, student outcomes, and mental health’, the increased usage of smartphones affects the well-being and learning among children and adolescents, and is a major concern for schools, parents, and policymakers.

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“The increasing use of technology, particularly the growing smartphone usage, by children and adolescents has led to concerns about the effects on young people’s cognitive, physical, and socioemotional development…Screen time, and particularly the use of social media, has increased since the mid-2000s. At the same time, the mental health of teenagers has worsened and is today one of the leading causes of illness among adolescents,” the report, published in February this year, said.

The study also added that just having the phone nearby, but in a silent mood, may even increase phone usage, especially for people with increased “Fear-Of-Missing-Out”.

The report shows data of the Norwegian schools after the government imposed a ban on smartphones in schools. According to the data, the ban has impacted students in particular four ways.

Significant decrease in doctor visits among girls

According to the study, banning smartphones in schools has reduced the number of consultations for psychological symptoms and diseases at specialist care by about two to three visits during middle school years among girls. In addition, girls have fewer consultations with their GP due to issues related to psychological symptoms – a decline of 0.22 visits, the report said.

Reduced bullying

The study showed that banning smartphones lowers the incidence of bullying for both girls and boys when they are exposed from the start of their middle school years to a ban.

Improved grades

The report stated that after the smartphone ban, girls who were exposed to the ban from the start of middle school made gains in GPA. Their likelihood of attending an academic high school track also increased. However, according to the study, there was no significant impact on boys’ GPA and their average grades set by teachers, or even their probability of attending an academic high school track.

Largest effect was among the poorest kids

According to the report, the health care take-up for psychological symptoms and diseases, GPA, teacher-awarded grades, and the probability of attending an academic high school track is larger for girls from low socioeconomic backgrounds.