Students must swap their smartphones for Nokias at an elite UK school

Students must swap their smartphones for Nokias at an elite UK school

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Pupils at Eton College hurry between lessons March 1, 2004 wearing the school uniform of tailcoats and starched collars, in Eton, England.

Eton College, one of the UK’s most elite schools and a globally-recognised name, is banning smartphones on campus, The Times reports.

The all-boys boarding school, founded in 1440 with alumni including George Orwell, several UK prime ministers, and Prince William, is removing smartphone use out of concerns regarding mental health and behaviour. In their place, students will reportedly receive Nokia handsets that are not connected to the internet. Students will only be able to make calls and send text messages.

The exact model of the Nokia phones has not been specified, but Nokia has rebooted nostalgic ’90s and ’00s releases like the 3310, 3210, and 6310 in recent years. These phones, though obviously boasting more simplified tech than their smartphone successors, have internet connectivity, so if it is one of these phones, this feature will likely be switched off.

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The rules only apply to those aged 13 and currently in year nine, with age-appropriate controls remaining “in place for other year groups.” Parents were alerted to the changes by Mike Grenier the school’s deputy head, who told The Times that smartphones should be taken home after SIM cards are transferred to the Nokia handsets that Eton will provide. The school will also reportedly provide iPads for educational news.

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Grenier also told the news outlet that challenges and areas of concern about smartphones include “socialisation, misuse and overuse and the impact on both mental and physical health.”

Eton joins a growing list of schools in the UK adjusting their guidelines around smartphone usage, including All Saints Catholic College in Notting Hill, London and Alleyn’s School in Dulwich.

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Meanwhile, state school in the U.S. are grappling with how to manage smartphones too, with several schools outright banning such devices and others currently pushing to do so. The most significant move so far comes in Los Angeles, which recently passed legislation banning cellphones from district classrooms.

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