Rio bans cell phones in schools, even during recess
A decree by Mayor Eduardo Paes (PSD) published in the Official Gazette this Friday (2) prohibits the use of cell phones in municipal schools — including at recess. The measure comes into force in 30 days.
Since August, city hall students were no longer allowed to use their phones in class, only during breaks. From March onwards, not even that.
“The use of cell phones and other electronic devices by students in school units in the municipal public education network is prohibited in the following situations:
- inside the classroom;
- outside the classroom when there is an explanation from the teacher and/or carrying out individual or group work in the school unit;
- during breaks, including recess.”
“Cell phones and other electronic devices must be stored in the student’s own backpack or purse, off or on in silent mode and without vibration”, specifies the decree.
“We believe that school is a place of learning and social interaction. Children cannot continue to be isolated on their own screens, without interacting with each other, without playing. The school needs this human interaction”, said the municipal secretary of Education, Renan Ferreirinha.
The student may use their cell phone under the following exceptions:
- before the first class of the day, as long as it is outside the classroom;
- after the last class of the day, as long as it is outside the classroom;
- when there is express authorization from the teaching professor for pedagogical purposes, such as research, reading or access to Rioeduca material;
- for students with disabilities or health conditions who require these devices to monitor or assist their needs;
- during breaks, including recess, when the city is classified as Operational Stage 3;
- when there is express authorization from the school unit’s management team in cases that lead to the closure or temporary interruption of the school unit’s activities, in accordance with the Safer Access program protocol;
- during breaks for Youth and Adult Education students;
- when there is express authorization from the school unit’s management team for reasons of force majeure.
In case of non-compliance by the student, “the teacher may warn the student and/or restrict the use of electronic devices in the classroom, as well as contact the school unit’s management team”.
“The analysis [da Unesco] from a large sample of young people aged 2 to 17 in the United States showed that greater screen time was associated with worse well-being; less curiosity, self-discipline and emotional stability; greater anxiety and diagnoses of depression,” wrote Paes.
“Technology can have a negative impact if it is inadequate or excessive. Data from large-scale international assessments, such as those provided by the International Student Assessment Program (Pisa) — the world’s largest student assessment — suggest a negative correlation between the excessive use of technologies (…) and academic performance. It turned out that the mere proximity of a cell phone was capable of distracting students and cause a negative impact on learning in 14 countries”, continued the mayor.
Paes further stated that “studies from Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom show that banning cell phones in schools improves academic performance, especially for low-performing students.”
“A report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), responsible for Pisa, reveals that 45% of students reported feeling nervous or anxious if their phones were not near them, on average, in OECD countries, and 65% reported being distracted by the use of digital devices in at least some math classes. The proportion exceeded 80% in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Finland and Uruguay”, he detailed.