In this photograph taken on September 26, 2017, high school students use smartphones and tablet computers at the vocational school in Bischwiller, Eastern France.
 PHOTO/ AFP

French legislators have implemented a ban on the use of of tablets, computers, and other internet-connected devices in school and during class hours.

This is after it emerged that since the beginning of the school year in eastern France some 31,000 high school pupils have replaced their traditional textbooks by computers and tablets , a move popular with students but opinion is divided among teachers and parents.

The lawmakers decided that students under the age of 15 must leave the gadgets at home, or at least have them turned off during the school day. However, high schools will be allowed to decide whether they implement the ban in their classrooms or not.

The ban is in line with president Emmanuel Macron’s campaign promise, who vowed that upon getting into office he would ensure that the gadgets would be removed from class to up educational standards. He later tweeted lauding the move by the law makers, saying that the promise had been “held the commitment”.

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“The general ban on mobile phones in schools and colleges has been definitively adopted by the National Assembly today. Commitment held,” tweeted President Macron.

More that 90% of French children between the ages of 12 and 17 had mobile phones in 2016, up from 72% in 2005, according to French telecoms regulator ARCEP.

A study from South Korea conducted on teenagers with internet and smartphone addiction demonstrated that their brains had higher levels of a neurotramsmitter that slows down neurons, resulting in reduced levels of control and attention and rendering people more susceptible to distractions.

Another study by the London School of Economics and Political Science showed that banning smartphones in schools caused a clear improvement in students’ test scores.

This will be the second phase of the law, after the French Government banned the use of smartphones during all teaching activities in 2010.

However, the new law has exceptions in place for students with disabilities and for the educational use of devices in the classroom and in extra-curricular activities.

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