Banning phones at school would promote the success of young girls

Banning phones at school would promote the success of young girls

Whether in playgrounds or in classrooms, cell phone use is widespread at school. The scale of the phenomenon has pushed some establishments to ban the use of smartphones in class. A decision which would prove beneficial for students, according to a Norwegian study.

In Norway, as in other countries, cell phones are not strictly banned in schools. But in theory, they must remain turned off in the bags during lessons, which is far from always being the case. This is why some Norwegian schools have decided to get tougher by banning smartphones altogether.

An impact on the academic success of young girls

Sara Abrahamsson, a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, looked into a study on the effects of these bans on the well-being and academic success of students. They prove to be very beneficial on young girls. Female students who cannot take their phone to school have less need to be followed by a general practitioner or a specialist for psychological disorders than those who attend schools where smartphone use is tolerated. We could therefore conclude that this measure contributes to their mental well-being.

Similarly, banning cell phones at school appears to have a positive impact on girls' academic success. Sara Abrahamsson found that affected female students tend to get better grades, especially in mathematics. They are also more inclined to take courses reserved for students with an advanced level, which suggests that “banning smartphones leads to improved academic performance for girls in the medium term“.

Less harassment among boys

This measure surprisingly does not seem to have the same effects on boys. Their psychological well-being and academic performance do not seem to be directly impacted by the presence of smartphones in Norwegian schools. However, students who cannot bring their phones to school report being less victims of school bullying than others. A phenomenon that we also observe among girls.

Overall, Sara Abrahamsson states that the findings of her study suggest that “banning smartphones in classrooms is an inexpensive measure that has considerable effects on students' mental health and academic success“.

Ban smartphones at school to fight inequalities

If the researcher does not give a precise reason for this phenomenon, we can imagine that it is due to the effects of smartphones on concentration. Indeed, young people can become distracted by the presence of their phone in their pocket or bag, and have difficulty concentrating on the content of their lessons.

But this doesn't concern everyone: a 2015 study from the Center for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics claims that struggling students are more likely to be distracted than those with good grades. Banning phones would potentially “reduce inequalities at school”, according to the authors of this research.