11 Jan 2018

Social Media Update - The French Government & Mobile Phones - Progress or Gone Too Far?

by Verlie Oosthuizen, Partner, Durban,
Practice Area(s): Social Media / Cyber Crimes |

The French government recently announced that from the start of the school year in September 2018, mobile phones will be banned completely in primary, junior and middle schools.  Currently French children are not permitted to have mobile phones in class and from September they will not be allowed to have access to them during breaks, at lunch or between lessons.

This is the second move that the French government has made against the modern culture of constant accessibility and last year they introduced an employment law which allowed employees “the right to disconnect” where they could justifiably ignore work related emails outside of working hours in certain circumstances.

Clearly the French government is taking research seriously regarding society’s constant access to mobile devices and the reason for the ban on mobiles at school was described by the education minister as a matter of “Public health”.  He stated that children are no longer playing at break time in favour of sitting and playing on their mobile devices.

In the last few days two major investors in Apple have requested that the company do research into the extensive use of their devices on child development citing concerns about their “entrancing” qualities.

It will be interesting to see whether the European move to ban mobiles in schools will transplant to our soil.  This was attempted in the USA in certain areas as early as 2006 but obviously has not stuck.  Watch this space.