MIL-OSI Europe: Serious issue that 30% of pupils distracted by mobile phones during lessons

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Source: Government of Sweden

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Young people’s use of mobile phones at school negatively affects their performance. This was the theme when Minister for Schools Lotta Edholm took part in a seminar organised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), where decision-makers and experts from various countries convened to discuss screen time in classrooms and the consequences of forbidding it.

“The Swedish Government considers that schools should be mobile-free environments, and this should be the starting point. At the same time, there are major challenges connected to the use of screens outside school, where a lack of both sleep and physical activity are crucial issues,” says Ms Edholm.

The OECD recently released the reports ‘Students, digital devices and success’ and ‘Managing screen time – how to protect and equip students against distraction’, which closely reviewed how the use of digital screens at school affects pupils and their learning. The reports show that many pupils (30%) are distracted by mobile phones and other digital devices at school, and Sweden lies above average according to the OECD.

At the seminar on 27 May, Ms Edholm talked about how the Swedish Government is striving to go back to basics and increase the use of analogue teaching aids. She emphasised the Government’s efforts to ensure more physical books in school, staffed school libraries and reduced screen time.

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About the reports

‘Students, digital devices and success’ was written by the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills. It investigates how the use of digital screens in school environments affects pupils and their learning. ‘Managing screen time – How to protect and equip students against distraction’ is part of the PISA in Focus series, which publishes monthly short reports on issues linked to PISA 2022. This report focuses on children’s screen time and how screen use relates to performance in mathematics, sense of belonging at school and distraction.

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