German politician wants a smartphone ban at primary schools


Central Europe


Primary school student is looking at his phone. Photo iStock

Primary schools should be smartphone-free, CDU politician Karin Prien argues. She pleads for a total ban on the devices in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, for which she is responsible as a Minister of Education.

"A kindergarten child does not need a smartphone", Prien said firmly to the German newspaper Bild. And parents are often a wrong example to their offspring. "All in all, adults spend too much time on their cell phones and tablets. That rubs off on the youngest", she points out. And that is a problem, according to Prien, because children spend less time on gymnastics, cycling or playing at the playground.

In Germany, states are responsible for education policies in their terrritories, NZZ writes. Therefore, Prien has the authority to implement a ban on phones, even though she has left open how she would like to do so.


Recently, paediatrician Thomas Fischbach also expressed concern about children using mobile devices. Constant consumption of “harmful social networks, such as TikTok, lead to an increase in mental suffering”, he says to Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. Fischbach observes how even small children are glued to their screens. He calls on parents to give their children a smartphone when they are at least 12 years old. "The risk of seduction is too great, despite all the technical control options", he explains. "Parents should not shy away from setting boundaries out of convenience."

The time children spend on their devices could be used so much better, Karin Priens believes. "Education begins at home at a very early age. Parents have to talk to the children, play with them and ideally read ten minutes aloud every evening. I'm a big fan of fairy tales."

The President of the German Teachers' Association, Stefan Duell, on the other hand, is not in favour of a total ban on smartphones at primary schools. In a guest comment in Die Tagespost, she pleads for rules instead of a ban. "A fundamental waiver of mobile phones at school is conceivable, but a gradual introduction to an enlightened, self-critical use of mobile phones is required. For older primary school children, didactically well thought-out learning games can be just as important as the basics of online research." Duell believes that digital devices should be used by schools to show children how they can be appropriately employed.

In addition, he emphasises that parents are co-responsible for teaching children media ethics. "If even small children see their parents often only with their cell phones in their hands, admonishing their children to read a book or play outside is of little use. In order for children to learn self-control, even self-discipline when using their smartphones, they need role models in their families; school alone cannot do this."



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