The United Nations Warns Against the Use of Smartphone in Educational Institutes

Smartphones have become an integral part of our lives, but they can also pose serious challenges and risks for education. That’s why the United Nations has warned against the use of smartphone in educational institutes, stating that “only technology that supports learning” is merited in schools.

In its 2023 Global Education Monitoring Report, UNESCO, the UN’s education, science and culture agency, highlighted the negative impacts of smartphones on students’ academic performance, mental health, privacy, and safety. It also urged countries to adopt laws or policies to ban or restrict smartphones in schools, as only one in four countries have done so.

According to the report, smartphones can cause distraction, disruption, and cheating in classrooms, as well as cyberbullying, harassment, and exposure to harmful content online. It also noted that excessive screen time can affect students’ cognitive, social, and emotional development, leading to lower curiosity, self-control, and emotional stability; higher anxiety; and depression diagnoses.

The report acknowledged that technology can have positive effects on learning in some contexts, such as during the Covid-19 pandemic when remote learning was a lifeline for many students. However, it also warned about the digital divide and the lack of quality and equity in online education. It stressed that technology should not replace human interaction and basic literacy skills.

The report also discussed the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) for education, such as the need for new assessment methods and ethical standards to deal with generative AI technologies that can produce fake texts, images, and videos.

The report concluded that technology should be used wisely and responsibly in education, with a focus on putting learners first and ensuring their well-being and rights. It also called for more research and evidence on the effects of technology on learning outcomes and processes.

The report’s recommendations are based on various studies and surveys conducted by UNESCO and other organizations. Some of the sources cited by the report are:

  • UN warns of risk of having smartphones in school – BBC News: This is an article that summarizes the main findings and recommendations of the UNESCO report. It also includes some opinions from students and experts on the issue of smartphones in schools
  • Smartphone Ban Recommended In Schools As UN Says They Are A ‘Distraction To Learning’ – Forbes: This is an article that provides more details and context on the UNESCO report. It also mentions some examples of countries that have already banned or restricted smartphones in schools, such as France, China, India, and Canada
  • The United Nations is calling for a global ban on students having smartphones in school – LADbible: This is an article that gives a brief overview of the UNESCO report. 
  • ‘Put learners first’: Unesco calls for global ban on smartphones in schools – The Guardian: This is an article that highlights some of the key points and arguments of the UNESCO report. It also compares the situation of smartphone use in schools in different regions of the world

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