The guidance would affect all schools in the U.K. and would be enforced for the whole school day. Officials in Britain's ruling Conservative Party earlier urged headteachers to put a limit to phone usage in schools. (Related: Parents and school officials of small Irish town unite to BAN SMARTPHONES for children as old as 13.)
"Gillian believes mobile phones pose a serious challenge in terms of distraction, disruptive behavior and bullying," said one government source who spoke with the Daily Mail. "It is one of the biggest issues children and teachers have to grapple with, so she will set out a way forward to empower teachers to ban mobiles from classrooms."
Keegan's proposed guidance would only affect schools in England, as schools in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are governed by their own devolved governments.
The British government's latest proposal comes as more national and international education-focused bodies recommend restricting smartphone usage in schools.
Back in July, the United Nations recommended banning smartphones in schools to tackle classroom disruption, improve learning and even help protect children from cyberbullying.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) pointed out that there was significant evidence that excessive smartphone use in school-age children was linked to reduced educational performance and that higher levels of screen time also had a negative effect on the emotional stability of children.
"The digital revolution holds immeasurable potential but, just as warnings have been voiced for how it should be regulated in society, similar attention must be paid to the way it is used in education," said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. "Its use must be for enhanced learning experiences and for the wellbeing of students and teachers, not to their detriment. Keep the needs of the learner first and support teachers. Online connections are no substitute for human interaction."
Other nations are also in the process of developing their own policies to restrict smartphone usage in schools. In June, Finland became the latest country to ban phones in class, claiming that such a move was necessary to reverse declining exam scores.
This is at least the third attempt by the Conservative Party to introduce a similar smartphone ban measure. Last year, then-Education Secretary Sir Gavin Williamson vowed to make the school day "mobile-free," but the proposal was later ditched by his successor who claimed that it was unnecessary because most schools were already implementing some version of a smartphone ban.
"Most schools have well-developed plans in place for the management of mobile phones and further intervention from government isn't necessary," wrote the Education Department back in February regarding its previous failed proposal. "In most cases, mobile phones are already banned for the majority of the school day with schools taking a range of measures to enforce that policy."
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Watch the following video to learn about how smartphones connect to people's brains and manipulate their thoughts.