The movement Mobile-Free Adolescence (ALM), which was born spontaneously this school year and is made up of families who advocate delaying until the age of 16 the age at which sons and daughters get their first mobile phone, applaud the various regional regulations recently approved to curb the use of smartphones in classrooms. However, in his opinion, they fall short. His spokespersons have sent a statement to make it clear that in secondary education – where the majority of students work with computers – the same thing as in primary school should happen: a complete and radical ban on mobile phones.
All regional regulations – which coincide with the guidelines set by the State School Council and the Ministry of Education- Mobile phones are completely banned in primary school. In secondary school too, including the playground, the dining room and extracurricular activities. Of course, the new regulations open the possibility for boys and girls to use their devices if the teacher considers it so. a teaching activity with pedagogical purposes. ALM considers that these pedagogical purposes represent “a drain that is under no circumstances justified in school environments.”
Mobile phones are “tools that they do not provide the centers” so the ALM assures that it is breaking educational lawwhich expressly prohibits centers from adopting pedagogical innovations if these involve discrimination of any kind or contributions from families.
The citizen movement adds that the possibility of teachers asking their students for cell phones under the cover of supposed educational purposes “contributes to generate inequalities between minors and between educational centers” given that there will be “institutes free of mobile phones and others that are not”, leaving helpless -they insist- to those families who decide to delay the delivery of the first mobile phone until they are 16 years old.
At the end of January, and after months of pressure from families and many teachers and the refusal to ban Educació, the Consell Executiu approved a general framework of reference that must be adapted by all centers in Catalonia in their regulations after a debate with families and faculty. The text, quite restrictive, orders that in public and subsidized schools in Catalonia, no preschool (0 to 3 years old) or primary (6 to 12 years old) students will be able to use their personal cell phone. Those in ESO (12 to 16 years old) will be authorized to wear it, but they will not be able to use it in class. Doing so will be “totally prohibited.” The veto will extend to the patio, the dining room, outings and extracurricular activities taught at the center. Students will only turn on their devices when required by a concrete educational activity. In any case, for this objective, tablets and computers will always have priority over phones.
Aragon, Murcia, Andalusia and Canary Islands have approved similar measures, which are added to those already in place Castilla-La Mancha, Galicia, Madrid and Castile and León. Until Basque Countrythe community most reluctant to regulate, announced weeks ago that all centers must approve a specific regulation.
ALM applauds the fact that mobile phones are finally regulated, but they allege that the veto must be total and radical in the institutes. They claim that studies such as the one carried out by the University of Chicago in 2017 show that the simple act of carrying your cell phone with you, even if it is in off mode, distracts the attention of minors. “We are not aware of research that indicates greater performance by students thanks to the use of smartphones in class,” they conclude.