1 August, 2018

When school starts next month in France there will be one thing glaringly missing: All personal internet-connected devices are banned from use by schoolchildren ages 3 to 15. Schools for children over 15 will decide in-house whether the ban will apply to them. While students will still be able to carry the devices with them, they will not be allowed to turn them on, CNN reported. The new law is the result of a campaign promise made by French President Emmanuel Macron; cellphone usage during teaching time has been banned since 2010.

This is a significant step forward for French children, not just because it will help them break smartphone addictions — or possibly prevent them — but also because keeping those devices turned off and out of sight will do nothing but good for their health. Mounting evidence shows that electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from cellphones can trigger abnormal cell growth and cancer, particularly in the heart and brain.

Just from the addiction standpoint, research shows that on average, people check their smartphones 150 times a day, or every six minutes. It’s no wonder that schools in France figured out that this had to stop if children ever were going to get real teaching time in class. It’s a shame that other countries like the U.S. haven’t followed France’s lead, but we can only hope. (Chinese doctors, by the way, treat cellphone addiction as a clinical disorder, and usually recommend addicted young people go to rehab centers, where they spend months separated from their electronic devices.)

If you are the parent of a cellphone-addicted child there are things you can do to stop it, and even prevent it with early intervention. Begin by resisting the urge to hand your toddler a WiFi-connected tablet to serve as a babysitter. Another strategy is to encourage your children of all ages to spend time outdoors (without their devices, of course), or reading real books, or engaging in hobbies that challenge their imaginations.

Also, monitor and limit their social media contacts and posts, as research shows that constant social media checking can have serious negative effects on your feelings of well-being and happiness. Additionally, put an end to smart device usage during family time, meal time and bedtime — using yourself as an example, as it’s true that YOU, too, need a break from EMFs.