In proposing the measure, she cited the many adverse effects of unregulated smartphone and electronic gadget use, especially among the youth.
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Bill seeks ban on phones, gadgets in grade school
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - December 2, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker from Bulacan has proposed a ban on the use of smartphones and other electronic gadgets in all schools by students from Grade 10 and below.

San Jose del Monte City Rep. Rida Robes filed last week House Bill 5542, which seeks to impose a ban in all public and private schools nationwide on the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices among students aged 15 years and below.

In proposing the measure, she cited the many adverse effects of unregulated smartphone and electronic gadget use, especially among the youth.

Robes said many studies had shown that children who are allowed to use their phones and gadgets even during school hours exhibit psychological, physiological and mental health issues that are “interfering with education, diminishing academic performance, promoting cyber-bullying and contributing to an increase in teenage anxiety, depression and suicide.”

The lawmaker believed that the measure would have benefit to the country’s education system as she cited results, in countries that strictly prohibit cellphone use in school, showing students have significantly improved their academic performance. 

“In May 2015, the London School of Economics and Political Science published a study which showed that test scores improved significantly at schools that banned mobile phone use. The said study concluded that ‘schools could significantly reduce the education achievement gap by prohibiting mobile phone use in schools’,” she pointed out.

Robes also mentioned that France adopted last year a nationwide smartphone ban in all primary and middle schools in order to promote pupil achievement and healthy social development.

She further stated that medical experts have called on parents to push back the age at which their children get their first smartphones to 16 years because it is the age when they are deemed to have enough maturity for a supervised cellular phone use.

“As a nation and responsible parents, we owe it to our future generation to shield them from unnecessary dangers and factors that hinder their full growth. And today’s biggest danger is the growing addiction to smartphones and other electronic gadgets,” she added.

Under her bill, students 15 years old and below are banned from using their smartphones and electronic gadgets in school premises except on the following instances—in case of emergency or in response to a perceived threat or danger; when the use of such mobile device or electronic gadget is required in a particular lesson (subject to limitations); and when the possession of a mobile device or electronic gadget is necessary for the health or wellbeing of a student as certified by a licensed physician.

If approved into law, all mobile devices or gadgets brought inside schools must be surrendered to authorities until dismissal time except under exceptional circumstances. It also enjoins the governing bodies of schools to implement the measure to make sure that students do not use any mobile devices or electronic gadgets while in campus or while they are under the supervision and control of the school.

For older students, the school may adopt a policy to limit the use of mobile devices or gadgets while inside school premises. Those who will violate the rule will be dealt with in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.

School administrators, teachers and instructors shall also be held administratively liable if they fail to implement the proposed law in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Department of Education.

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