Smartphones banned in some schools

The 2018-2019 academic year began on Monday and it’s interesting to note that some schools in Vientiane have announced they will not allow students to bring smartphones to class.
Smartphones have many functions including the downloading and installation of games and online chat applications. Schools are looking to enforce this measure because they are concerned smartphones will disturb learning and teaching in class.
Those who break the rules will face penalties such as a warning, score deduction, seizure of the telephone or a fine. 2G phones that can be only used for calls are still allowed into schools.   
Such a strong decision against smartphone use has been taken because teachers have found some students chatting or playing games instead of focusing on their studies. A student using their phone for fun also attracts interest and conversation from others in the class when they should be listening to the teacher.
The ban on smartphones will benefit students, preventing them from becoming game addicts and even reduce expenses for their parents on internet charges. This move will encourage students to pay more attention to their education and help them avoid the possible health risks of constantly using their phones over the long-term.
Many secondary school students now have expensive smartphones and it’s observed they have a close relationship with such devices. This situation can change the behaviour of children.
Upon arriving home from school, some children often go into their bedroom with their smartphone and spend a lot of time chatting with friends, playing games, checking and updating information on Facebook. They do not care about the work given to them by their family.
Even if parents ask them several times to come out of their room, they become grouchy and develop a bad attitude. I believe many families face such problems. If all parties work together according to their roles, it will lead to better behaviour and manners among children.
Many parents now have a headache with their children. Having bought them smartphones, they now worry about how to manage their children’s use of the phones.  
However, some people have a different opinion from the schools believing that smartphones can provide useful information and be a source of knowledge when used properly. Users can quickly follow and update information and events around the country and overseas with this technology.
The decision by principals at some schools may take children away from their smartphones but nobody knows for sure if this will result in a better education. Will children pay more attention in class or will they worry about their smartphones?
In general, there is no consensus on the prohibition or how its implementation will turn out. I asked the principal of a private school in Vientiane about this issue and he said that his institution informs students every year about the ban.
He said that every school that announces a ban has its own rules. There is no official statement from the State education sector on enforcing such bans. Therefore, implementation is very difficult and schools must carefully assess feedback from society.
To ensure the bans are effectively enforced requires every school or State responsible organisation to study the impacts of smartphone use on children’s education and their behaviour. If the devices are deemed detrimental for students, every party must be involved to highlight the good and bad points of smartphones. 
If the State education sector or related ministry identifies a clear problem, they must issue an official announcement to every school across the country to proceed with smartphone bans. 

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update September 6, 2018)


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