Exploring Boundless Advantages: The Transformative Impact of Ban Phones in Schools

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) There is growing evidence that unrestricted use of smartphones by pupils at elementary and secondary schools during the schooldays interferes with the educational mission of the schools, lowers pupil performance, particularly among low-achieving pupils, promotes cyberbullying, and contributes to an increase in teenage anxiety, depression, and suicide.

(b) In September 2018, France adopted a nationwide smartphone ban in all primary and middle schools in order to promote pupil achievement and healthy social development.

(c) The London School of Economics and Political Science published a May 2015 study that found that test scores improved significantly at schools that banned mobile phone use, and that the most significant gains in pupil performance were made by the most disadvantaged and underachieving pupils. The study concluded that “schools could significantly reduce the education achievement gap by prohibiting mobile phone use in schools.”

(d) Dr. Jean Twenge, who is a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, published a book in 2017 entitled “iGen,” which presents evidence of an increase in depression and suicide among American teenagers that may be caused by increased mobile device screen time and social media use. According to Dr. Twenge, 8th grade pupils who spend 10 or more hours per week on social media are 56 percent more likely to describe themselves as unhappy than those who devote less time to social media. Moreover, teenagers who spend three hours per day or more on electronic devices are 35 percent more likely to demonstrate risk factors for suicide, such as suicidal ideation, and teenagers who spend five or more hours per day on their devices are 71 percent more likely to demonstrate a risk factor for suicide.


“Should Schools Ban Cellphones?” Flypaper, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, 8 Dec. 2023, fordhaminstitute.org/national/commentary/should-schools-ban-cellphones#:~:text=Phones%20prevent%20socialization%20between%20students%20during%20school.&text=Others%20wear%20AirPods%20like%20security,lasting%20detriment—during%20Covid%20closures.

In the article published on the author’s Substack, The Education Daly, there’s a growing movement to ban cellphones in schools, driven by governments, academics, and editorial boards. The UK has initiated a national effort to prohibit phone usage during school hours, following the lead of France and China. Prominent academics, including Jonathan Haidt, have urged the U.S. Secretary of Education to recommend phone-free policies in schools, citing the detrimental impact of personal devices on children, particularly during school hours.

The article highlights several key reasons supporting the push for cellphone bans in schools:

  1. Mental Health Concerns: There’s a correlation between increased phone usage and a rise in depression and mental illness among adolescents. Social media platforms have become more addictive, contributing to heightened loneliness and other mental health issues.
  2. Socialization Hindrance: Phones have been observed to impede social interactions among students, with some struggling to initiate or sustain conversations.
  3. Widespread Usage in Schools: Despite existing rules, most students use their phones during school hours, indicating a failure of current policies.
  4. Impact on Learning: Phone usage in classrooms is linked to reduced academic performance, not only for users but also for those around them due to distraction.

The article outlines three common policy options for phone bans:

  1. Banning phones from school premises entirely.
  2. Allowing phones in school but not in classrooms.
  3. Prohibiting active phone use in class but allowing them to be kept in pockets or bags.

Enforcement challenges and the need for consistent policy implementation are emphasized. The article also discusses broader issues related to student presence and engagement, highlighting the complexities of technology use in educational settings. The author suggests considering secure, signal-blocking pouches and enforcing strict rules for both students and teachers as potential solutions.

In conclusion, the article advocates for a balanced approach to cellphone policy in schools, considering both the potential drawbacks of unrestricted use and the importance of addressing broader educational challenges.

[Source: The Education Daly, Substack]


Beneito, Pilar, and Óscar Vicente-Chirivella. “Banning mobile phones in schools: evidence from regional-level policies in Spain.” Applied Economic Analysis 30.90 (2022): 153-175.

This study from Spain offers valuable insights into the effects of banning mobile phones in schools. Initiated in 2015 by the autonomous governments of two Spanish regions, this policy served as a quasi-natural experiment, allowing for a comparative-case analysis focused on its impact on students’ performance and bullying incidence.

The researchers employed sophisticated methods like the synthetic control method and difference-in-differences estimation, comparing the regions that implemented the ban with others in Spain. Their findings were significant:

  1. Reduction in Bullying: A noticeable decline in bullying incidents among teenagers was observed in the regions with the phone ban. This suggests that the absence of mobile phones may contribute to a safer and more inclusive school environment.
  2. Improvement in Academic Performance: In Galicia, one of the treated regions, the ban had a positive and substantial impact on student performance in international assessments. The increase in PISA scores for maths was equivalent to 0.6–0.8 years of learning, and for sciences, it ranged from about 0.72 to nearly one year of learning.

The study’s originality lies in its empirical approach to analyzing the impact of mobile phone bans on bullying, utilizing variations across regions, years, and age groups. It also contributes to the broader understanding of how mobile phone usage affects academic achievement, adding a macro perspective to the existing literature which is predominantly micro-focused.

These findings underscore the potential untapped benefits of phone-free school policies, not only in enhancing academic performance but also in fostering a more positive social environment in schools.


Walker, Tim. “Cellphone Bans in School Are Back. How Far Will They Go?” NEA Today, National Education Association, 3 Feb. 2023, www.nea.org/nea-today/all-news-articles/cellphone-bans-school-are-back-how-far-will-they-go.

The article by Tim Walker, published on February 3, 2023, discusses the resurgence of cellphone bans in U.S. schools, highlighting educators’ perspectives and the impact on school culture.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Prevalence of Bans: As of 2020, 76% of U.S. schools had implemented cellphone bans, reflecting a growing trend to restrict these devices in educational settings.
  2. Varied Rationales and Restrictions: Schools adopt different approaches to cellphone bans, with some imposing broader restrictions than others. The common motivations include reducing distractions, addressing cyberbullying, improving attendance, and mitigating social media’s impact on mental health.
  3. Diverse Opinions Among Educators: While many educators support the bans to improve classroom engagement, others express concerns about over-restrictiveness potentially harming school culture.

Patrick Danz, an English teacher at Allen Park High School, shares his struggles with constant distractions caused by cellphones, advocating for a school-wide ban during instructional hours for consistency and effectiveness.

Elizabeth Keren-Kolb, a professor of educational technologies, emphasizes the need for a balanced approach, acknowledging the significant distraction caused by cellphones but also recognizing the impracticality of completely eliminating them from school campuses.

School counselor Alison Hyman’s experiences in two different schools highlight the effectiveness of cellphone bans in reducing classroom disruptions, though she notes challenges in enforcement and student compliance.

Opposition from parents, mainly due to concerns about emergency communication, has led some districts to revise their policies, allowing limited cellphone use and exploring alternative storage options like electronic pouches.

Harvard researcher Dylan Lukes and learning achievement specialist Christopher Klein underscore the importance of considering the impact of cellphone bans on school culture and discipline. They suggest that while addressing the distractions caused by cellphones is crucial, it’s equally important to engage students in discussions about responsible use and integrate cellphones constructively into educational settings.

In summary, the article presents a nuanced view of cellphone bans in schools, highlighting the benefits in terms of reduced distractions and improved engagement, while also considering the potential downsides related to school culture and student-teacher relationships.


New Zealand’s New PM Luxon Touts Ban on Phones in Schools.” DW, Deutsche Welle, [article publication date if available, otherwise use the access date], www.dw.com/en/new-zealands-new-pm-luxon-touts-ban-on-phones-in-schools/a-67601505.

New Zealand’s new conservative Prime Minister, Christopher Luxon, announced a nationwide ban on cellphones in schools, as part of his government’s 100-day plan. This policy, revealed during a school visit, aims to curb disruptive behavior and enhance student focus, particularly in light of falling literacy rates in the country. Luxon’s announcement, made alongside Education Minister Erica Stanford, aligns with his party’s commitment to mandatory daily hours of reading, writing, and maths in schools.

The decision comes after a report last year by New Zealand researchers highlighted declining literacy rates among young people, with less than half meeting age-appropriate standards in reading and writing. Although New Zealand generally performs well in international student proficiency rankings, its scores lag behind top-performing countries.

This move by New Zealand follows similar initiatives in various countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, and in the German state of Bavaria. These policies typically require students to either store their phones in lockers or submit them for safekeeping in classrooms. Proponents argue that phones are a distraction, especially for lower-performing students, while critics question the effectiveness of such bans and suggest integrating phone usage into educational activities as a more effective long-term strategy.

Luxon’s government, which has also planned to reverse several policies of the previous administration, faced criticism in its first week. This includes the scrapping of tobacco control measures, plans to restart offshore oil and gas exploration, and controversial comments from Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters about a government media funding initiative.

The cellphone ban in New Zealand’s schools is part of a broader suite of policy changes under Luxon’s leadership, sparking debates on their potential impact and effectiveness.

Source: msh/jsi (AFP, Reuters)

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