UN Warns of Risk of Having (Smartphones) in Schools

UNESCO Warns of Smartphones in Schools

UNESCO warns against smartphones in schools, stating that only technology that supports learning is merited. Mobile devices can cause distraction, risk pupil privacy, and lead to cyberbullying. Less than one in four countries has laws or policies banning phones in schools, according to a report by Unesco. In the UK, head teachers set the rules, but restrictions apply in most schools.


Manos Antoninis, the author of the 2023 Global Education Monitor report, said that students should not be shielded from technology entirely, but countries needed to give better guidance on what type of technology should be allowed in school. Several studies have shown that banning mobile phones from schools improves academic performance.

UNESCO Warns of Smartphones in Schools

In 2021, then-education secretary Gavin Williamson called for a ban on mobile phones in schools in England, but current Department for Education (DfE) guidance states it is up to head teachers to decide if mobile phones can be used during the school day. However, it warns that allowing access to mobile devices in school introduces risks, including distraction, disruption, bullying, and abuse, and can be detrimental to learning.

In June, a parent association for eight primary schools in Ireland introduced a voluntary ban on smartphones for children at home or at school. Some argue that mobile phones are useful for contacting parents, while others counter that banning home use is excessive.

In 2017, Bangladesh banned both students and teachers from bringing mobile phones into classrooms. France also has a ban but makes exceptions for certain groups of students, such as those with disabilities, or when smartphones are used for teaching. The Netherlands will mostly ban mobile phones, tablets, and smartwatches from secondary school classrooms next year.

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