The French Senate passed a bill at the end of last week that marks another step in relation to an issue that over the past few months has been debated by public opinion in the country and that mixes concerns in terms of health and education.
The use of mobile phones in schools by young people has been discussed in France and has been the subject of several studies carried out over the past few months, largely due to pressure from civil society groups that demand the Government to take a firm stand in the defense of children’s health.
As TeK wrote a few months ago, several proposals were on the table and most of them are now in the draft under consideration by Senate deputies. Nursery schools, 1st, 2nd and 3rd cycles of basic education should prohibit the use of mobile phones, defends the bill that also provides for the integration in all new equipment of hands-free systems, which can help to reduce the impacts of radiation and imposes restrictions on industry advertising to young people. In the text, use is prohibited but there are no references to possession, which may or may not be possible depending on the decision of the bodies involved.
To succeed, the new legislation, included in a package of measures related to the environment and health, has yet to be approved by the National Assembly, which should happen in the coming weeks.
A study also released last week reveals that about half of French students aged between 12 and 17 use a cell phone at school.
An even higher percentage, 73 percent, have their own cell phone, even if they do not take it to school by choice, or have been prevented from doing so. If the age group analyzed increases – for a range between 16 and 17 years – then the data indicates that 95 percent of respondents have a mobile phone.
A fifth of students have had their phone confiscated at school by teachers or other guardians, reveals the study published by the daily Le Parisien and quoted by Reuters.
With regard to the main reason for the new legislation – more to promote health than to control a use that impairs learning in class, as advocated by the diploma – remember that there are no definitive conclusions about the possible risks of using mobile phones for health, due to the radiation emitted during their use. It is possible to find studies that claim the existence of risks, as well as it is possible to find information that guarantees exactly the opposite.