Ban mobiles in classrooms to curb 'excessive' screen time, says schools minister
Schools should stop their pupils from bringing mobile phones into the classroom, an education minister has said.
Nick Gibb spoke out against the devices ahead of the government publishing new guidance for schools which is expected to address internet safety, social media and online gaming.
Schools already have the power to ban phones from being taken on to the premises. But government policy is that it is the responsibility of head teachers to determine whether this is appropriate.
Mr Gibb told the BBC: "Many schools have already taken the decision to ban mobile phones from the classroom.
"While this is clearly a matter for the head teacher, my own view is that schools should ban their pupils from bringing smartphones into school or the classroom."
More than 11,000 people have responded to the Government's consultation - launched last summer - which says "pupils should be taught about the benefits of balancing time spent on and offline".
Speaking out against too much screen time, the minister said: "Children should not be spending hours and hours on their smartphones or iPads. There are obviously huge benefits to the internet and there's nothing intrinsically damaging about spending time online.
"But if the time children spend using social media or playing computer games becomes excessive, it drives out time for them to talk to their parents, exercise, do their homework or play with friends. "It eats into the amount of sleep and rest children have, resulting in their coming into school the next day tired and unable to concentrate."
The minister, who has spent more than six years at the Department for Education, added: "Ensuring children can regulate their own use of smartphones and social media is becoming an increasingly important life skill for them to learn."