England Discusses a Complete Ban of Cellphones in Schools

By Faith Gonia

A buzz in your pocket, a chime from across the classroom, an inner urge to pick it up—students are familiar with cell phones’ disruptions to the classroom. Here at Westmont, the Student Handbook prohibits cell phone use during class hours, with an exception of teacher-authorized instances. Break and lunch, however, are free reign. But a new plan in Great Britain might ban mobile phones in the country’s schools entirely. 

In July, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) issued a report recommending a global ban on smartphones in schools. Noting how cell phone usage correlates with decreased performance in schools, the report warns that, though phones have the potential to improve learning, they ultimately have a negative impact. Additionally, UNESCO delves into other smartphone-related issues, including equity, privacy, and government regulation.

Grasping the attention of media across the globe, the report sparked a new effort in Great Britain. Gillian Keegan, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Education, announced in early October a plan to ban mobile phones in England schools. 

“One of the biggest issues facing children and teachers is grappling with the impact of smartphones in our schools,” Keegan explains in a speech regarding the possible ban. She also expresses worry over the disturbance that cell phones pose to schools. In a defense for the “amazing” bans that currently exist, she states, “We will change guidance so that all schools will follow their lead.”

As the ban has not been implemented yet, many wonder if Keegan’s plan will be successful. Moreover, many are asking, will a complete cell phone ban in schools be truly beneficial? British students and adults alike await for answers.