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Mobile phones should be banned from classrooms, with pupils lectured about the dangers of device dependency, the schools minister has said.
Nick Gibb said he had concerns about the impact that excessive phone use was having on children, and said the government would introduce lessons for pupils on how to limit their screen time.
Speaking to The Times newspaper, Gibb said: “Schools obviously are free to set their own behaviour policies but my own view is that schools should ban mobile telephones and smartphones inside school, and particularly inside classrooms.
“I believe very strongly that children should be limiting their own use at home.
“Every hour spent online and on a smartphone is an hour less talking to family, and it’s an hour less exercise and it’s an hour less sleep.
“And of course it is a lack of sleep that research is showing can have a damaging effect on a child’s mental health.”
The Daily Mail newspaper reported that children will be told to break off at least every two hours and avoid social media before bedtime, according to the guidance from chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies.
The UK would be following in the footsteps of European counterparts if schools were to introduce a ban, with French pupils being told to leave their smartphones at home when they returned from their summer holidays last year.
Gibb is the latest figure in education to support such a move, with former Ofsted head Sir Michael Wilshaw saying devices were disrupting lessons.
Teachers have also complained about pupils being distracted or using the phones to take upskirt images of staff in the classroom.
Speaking at the Festival of Education at Wellington College last summer, Sir Michael said that “any sensible head would ban mobile phones”.
“It’s interesting that President Macron is now bringing in legislation in France to ban mobile phones in state schools in…