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UNESCO advocates ban of smartphones in schools worldwide

July 28, 2023

Advocating that it would improve learning levels among children, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has called for a ban on smart mobile phones in schools.

UNESCO, which is the education, cultural and science agency of the UN has recommended this in the wake of the harm caused by technology and concerns of data privacy.

In a report, they have said that the benefits of smartphones cease to exist when they are used excessively and without parents’ or teachers’ supervision.

The report which lists usage time, regulations and bans world over says that one in seven countries ban the use of mobile phones in schools by law.

Banning the use of smartphones from schools in Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom was found to improve learning outcomes, according to a study quoted in the report. This was especially true for students that were not performing as well as their peers did.

“Guidelines or recommended screen time limits exist, most often under the purview of health authorities, but it is up to the parents to follow them. The World Health Organization guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviors and sleep recommends less than an hour of sedentary screen time for children aged between 1 and 5 years (WHO, 2019). In Australia, the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children recommend: no screen time for children under 2 years; no more than one hour,” the report reads.

However, UNESCO also highlights that digital technology has dramatically increased access to teaching and learning resources. For example, they talk about the National Academic Digital Library of Ethiopia and National Digital Library of India.

In a formal statement, Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General warned, “The digital revolution holds immeasurable potential but, just as warnings have been voiced for how it should be regulated in society, similar attention must be paid to the way it is used in education.”

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