Top school bans smartphones and hands out Nokia ‘bricks’ instead

Forget high tech - Eton is opting for older technology (Picture: Getty)
Forget high tech – Eton is opting for older technology (Picture: Getty)

Eton College is the latest to ban pupils from taking smartphones to school – opting instead for a rather archaic option.

New year nine pupils, who turn 14 during the school year, will be given Nokia ‘brick’ phones which only make calls and send texts.

The £49,000 per year school wrote to parents about the new policy – and said if children have smartphones already, they should transfer their SIM cards to the school-issued phones.

Students in their first three years at Eton are already required to hand in their electronic devices at night.

A spokesperson for Eton said: ‘Eton routinely reviews our mobile phone and devices policy to balance the benefits and challenges that technology brings to schools.

‘From September those joining in Year 9 will receive a ‘brick’ phone for use outside the school day, as well as a school-issued iPad to support academic study. Age-appropriate controls remain in place for other year groups.’

Eton College's previous students include Princes William and Harry (Picture: Gety)
Eton College’s previous students include Princes William and Harry (Picture: Gety)

Eton is the latest school to crack down on smartphone use in the classroom – others, including Alleyn’s, Brighton College, Thomas’s and others are also restricting the use of smartphones.

It comes as Labour said they were ‘open-minded’ about banning social media for children as an Education Select Committee report has outlined more ‘serious dangers’ to children from smartphones in general.

A committee of MPs said in May that the next government should consider banning smartphones all together for those under the age of 16.

The report found worrying statistics – including the risks of increased screen time for children and young people significantly outweighing any potential benefits.

Committee chairman Robin Walker cited ‘extensive damage’ done to young people using their devices too much.

The Education Select Committee found an even split between Labour and Conservative members – both of whom cited worries about the findings.

The new report from the Education Select Committee has found that one in four children now use their phone in a manner resembling addiction.

And almost all children own a phone by the age of 12 – with 79% of children encountering ‘violent pornography’ before the age of 18.

Extended screen time has also become increasingly normal for young children and teenagers, with a recent research review identifying a 52% increase in children’s screen time between 2020 and 2022.

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