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Learner First – UNESCO wants digital screen ban in schools to improve psychological health, children’s education

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New Delhi. As per United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Global Education Monitor (GEM) 2023 report, a ban is deemed necessary on mobile to improve children’s mental health, focus more on learning, and protect them from cyber-attacks.

According to media reports, UNESCO stated that there was evidence linking excessive mobile phone use to reduced educational performance and that high levels of screen time had a negative effect on children’s emotional stability. The call for a digital screen usage ban emphasizes the importance of prioritizing a “human-centred vision” of education, with digital technology, including artificial intelligence, always being subservient to face-to-face interaction with teachers.

The report also highlights that excessive use of technology, such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops, for educational purposes at home and in the classroom, negatively impacts emotional stability.

GEM 2023 Report, titled ‘Technology in education: A tool on whose terms?’, advocates for decisions about technology in education that prioritize the learner’s needs, ensuring that any use of technology is appropriate, equitable, scalable, and sustainable.

UNESCO’s Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, has urged countries to enact laws that ensure the appropriate use of technology and do not harm students’ health and privacy.

According to UNESCO, smartphones are banned in schools in one in six countries, based on an analysis of 200 education systems worldwide. The study conducted by UNESCO on 200 education systems globally revealed better results among school students where digital media usage has been banned in schools.

The report calls for more countries to prepare for this through legal measures.

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