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Authored by Marina Zhang via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Banning cellphones in schools improved academics, reduced bullying, and reduced students’ need for counseling, a 73-page Norwegian paper found.


Girls benefited the most from the policies.

“Banning smartphones significantly decreases the health care take-up for psychological symptoms and diseases among girls,” Sara Sofie Abrahamsson, a postdoctoral researcher and the paper’s sole author, wrote in the abstract. Post-ban bullying among both genders decreases.”

The paper followed data from recent decades, mainly focusing on 2010 to 2020.

The researcher observed no negative impact from introducing such a policy.

“The phones are an absolute distraction. Even if a kid has the phone in their pocket during class, if the phone is on vibrate every time it vibrates, which is constantly, their mind automatically shifts away from what the teacher is teaching to the phone,” Tom Kersting, a psychotherapist who was a school counselor for 25 years, told The Epoch Times in agreement with the report’s findings.

As a proponent of banning phones in schools, Mr. Kersting suspected that Norway would see improvements in students’ academics, mental health, and social and emotional skills.

Major Findings

There are no national guidelines on smartphone use in Norway. Instead, schools make their own decisions on whether to allow smartphones.

Therefore, Ms. Abrahamsson used a survey to collect data from Norwegian middle schools on smartphone use and whether and when they had introduced any smartphone regulations.

These data were then matched to a school’s data, including student grades set by teachers and external exams, student GPAs, student visits to psychologists and general practitioners, and measurements for bullying.

Ms. Abrahamsson’s four major findings were as follows:

  1. The number of psychological consultations was reduced by 60 percent in female students.
  2. The incidence of bullying for both girls and boys lowered.
  3. Girls made gains in GPA and externally graded mathematics tests.
  4. Girls were more likely to attend an academic high school track.

The author found that the stricter the smartphone policy, the greater the improvement among female students. Stricter schools forbade students from bringing phones to school or required students to hand in their phones before the start of class.

Girls from low socioeconomic backgrounds showed the most improvement.

However, smartphone bans did not affect boys’ mental health and GPA.

Smartphone Bans in the United States

2024 survey by America’s National Parents Union found that only 32 percent of parents support schools banning students from using their phones, though 43 percent reported that their child’s school had such a policy.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, during the 2019–2020 school year, over 76 percent of schools prohibited nonacademic use of cellphones or smartphones during school hours.

Several school districts have introduced more stringent phone policies that have received growing support from teachers, students, and parents alike.

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