A new French law will ban students from using smartphones on school grounds — in an effort to combat cell phone addiction and encourage children to read and play outside, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
“We’re not seeking to reject technological progress — that would be absurd — but to master it, to make sure man is the master of the machine,” Jean-Michel Blanquer, France’s education minister, told the Journal. “It all begins with education.”
Beginning in September, the law will prohibit students — aged 3 to 15 — from using smartphones on school grounds, with few exceptions, according to the publication. Blanquer said lawmakers hope the ban will help remove distractions during class and encourage students to play outside or read a book.
One mother seemed to be in favor of the ban, telling the Journal, “Children don’t have the maturity. Some adults don’t either.”
Earlier this year, Blanquer called the law a “detox measure,” according to Reuters. Some officials even suggested that teachers be subject to the ban as well, but the education minister deemed that unnecessary, Reuters reported.
Instead, under the law — which was passed in July — teachers will be able to use devices during lessons, according to the Journal. In guidelines, which officials will publish in the coming weeks, schools will be able to install lockers where students can keep their cell phones.
“We want children to rediscover the real, that connection to the concrete, to nature, to do doing things with their hands, to contact with other human beings,” Blanquer told the Journal.
This isn’t the only school change to make headlines in recent months.
Earlier this year, it was reported that schools in the United Kingdom are beginning to remove analog clocks from the classroom — because students are complaining that they can’t read them
“The current generation aren’t as good at reading the traditional clock face as older generations,” Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders in England, told The Telegraph. “Nearly everything they’ve got is digital so youngsters are just exposed to time being given digitally everywhere.”