Experts against Chamber: that addictive smartphone should be left out of the classroom 19:10 in Politics Should the smartphone be banned at school in the Netherlands, just like in France? Experts today gave their opinion to MPs on a theme that is keeping people busy.

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MPs consider the use of smartphones in class a problem and are looking for a solution
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The message from experts to the House of Representatives is crystal clear: the use of smartphones is highly addictive for young people. Young people’s brains are not yet developed enough to resist the stimuli, vibrations and sounds. Pupils with a “broken brain” score on average about 1 to 1.5 points lower on a test. And also get gloomy from social media.

In the House of Representatives, experts have been invited to the round table discussion ‘Mobiles in the classroom’; professors, teachers and representatives of parents and students. Before the summer, Education Minister Wiersma will make it clear whether there will be a nationwide mobile phone ban in the classroom in the Netherlands – just like in France. MPs now want to know what the most sensible thing to do is.


Professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at VU University Theo Compernolle would prefer to see a general ban up to 13 years. There must be lessons (also for parents, by the way) to deal with these addictive stimuli. Professor of educational psychology Paul Kirschner argues for the introduction of a simple rule: “Home or in the vault”. “Anything that distracts leads to poorer performance. There are tons of studies about that.”

A nationwide ban is the only way to turn the tide, say these two scientists. Driving without seat belts or using bells in the car has also been successfully banned. It is also only a matter of a few school hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., after which there is enough time to speak to friends via social media or watch TikTok videos, Kirschner and Compernolle emphasize.

The listening MPs seem convinced of the addiction danger of the smartphone. The question is more: should they plead for a nationwide ban? Does that make sense?


It only works if it is also enforced, emphasizes Professor of Media, Youth and Society Patti Valkenburg.

Preparing a new law will take at least two years and then it will already be outdated, Valkenburg predicts. Technology is moving so fast that the large smartphone may have already been replaced by small watches with mini earphones that allow the social media addiction to continue unseen.

So there are quite a few snags to a national ban. It would already help if “The Hague” draws up clear guidelines, so that schools do not have to think about what wisdom is. That is also what the representative of the parents, Lobke Vlaming, hopes for. “The schools must be obliged to come up with an approach and it must be checked whether this actually happens.”

The school board of Alfrink College in Deurne decided four years ago to ban mobile phones from school. It works, the peace in the classroom is back, pupils talk to each other again in the schoolyard, says English teacher Gert Verbrugghen. “I wish it on every student.”

Symptom control

The invited student, Janouke van Meerveld of student association Laks sees it differently. Many lessons are boring, with too long a monologue by a teacher including a PowerPoint presentation. If that doesn’t change, it’s not surprising that someone prefers to watch a TikTok video.

“A ban is a step back in society. Teach us how to deal with those smartphones and don’t punish us. It’s symptom relief.”

  • Telephone ban at school: who is waiting for that?
  • Wiersma will talk to schools about banning mobile phones
  • Politics

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