The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes (PSD), expanded the ban on the use of cell phones and technological devices in schools in the city’s municipal education network. The measure was published in decree this Friday (2).
According to the publication, in addition to the classroom, use during breaks, including recess, is also prohibited.
Devices will be permitted to be used before the start of the first class of the day, as long as it is outside the classroom, and after the end of the last class of the day. It is also permitted when there is express authorization from the teacher for pedagogical purposes.
There is an exception for recreational use: if the city is in operational stage 3, which is when there is at least one incident of impact in the city that affects mobility, such as flooding. The stage is the third on a scale of five, the latter being the most critical.
The measure also provides that, “if there is non-compliance with the rules established in this Decree, 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.”
Since August 2023, the use of cell phones has been prohibited during classes in the municipal network. At the time, also in a decree, the city hall informed that the decision was in line with a report from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) which pointed out that the use of cell phones could harm learning and concentration. .
Now, the ban even on playgrounds comes into force on the date of its publication and takes effect after 30 days. From that moment on, “cell phones and other electronic devices must be kept in the student’s own backpack or bag, turned off or in silent mode and without vibration”, as specified in the publication.
As justification, Paes cites the 2019 report from the WHO (World Health Organization) that recommends no screen time for children aged 0 to 2 years and less than an hour of screen time for children aged 2 to 5 years.
It also states that there is already “an initiative in several countries to totally or partially ban the use of cell phones in schools for other age groups.”
In addition to citing other international studies in the decree, such as those from the United States and Belgium on the impact of technology on young people up to 17 years old, Paes says that a public consultation was carried out by the Municipal Department of Education, between December 2023 and January 2024.
“(The consultation) received 10,437 contributions, of which: 83% were in favor; 11% were partially in favor and; 6% were against the ban on the use, by students, of cell phones and other electronic devices during all school hours”, the document cites.
According to the municipal secretary of Education, Renan Ferreirinha, “(with cell phones) there is no way to pay attention and learn fully and we cannot belittle this problem or pretend that it does not exist. Furthermore, school is a place to interact with friends and being on the cell phone disrupts social interaction, leaving the child isolated on their own screen.”