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Research Says Kids Do Much Better In School When Cell Phones Are Banned

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Forbidding students from bringing cell phones to school results in higher test scores.

Richard Murphy and Louis-Philippe Beland of the London School of Economics studied how students in 91 British schools fared on national exams after the schools' policies on cell phones changed in 2001 or later. Data for this study featured the grades of 130,000 16-year-old students.

According to CNN, the economists discovered the schools that didn't allow students to carry cell phones saw overall test scores go up by 6.4 percent.

More specifically, the students who didn't perform well increased their test scores by 14 percent after these bans went into effect.

Murphy and Beland said,

The results suggest that low-achieving students are more likely to be distracted by the presence of mobile phones, while high achievers can focus in the classroom regardless of the mobile phone policy.

The pair discovered cell phones steal so much attention from studies, prohibiting them garners the same effect as making kids spend more time in school.

They concluded,

We found the impact of banning phones for these students equivalent to an additional hour a week in school, or to increasing the school year by five days.

Murphy and Beland believe it's the urge to text, play games or visit social media that makes phones so harmful while children are in school.

Cell phones were banned in New York City schools for a decade until Mayor Bill de Blasio lifted the ban in March.

It is now up to each school to make up its own cell phone policy.

The economists, however, do not support the change.

They stated,

Schools could significantly reduce the education achievement gap by prohibiting mobile phone use in schools, and so by allowing phones in schools, New York may unintentionally increase the inequalities of outcomes.

Citations: Kids do a lot better when schools ban smartphones (CNN)