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Nokia ‘Bricks’ at Eton: New Strategy Against Phone Addiction

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One of the most prestigious schools in the world, Eton College, has announced it will ban smartphones for new pupils starting next term. The action is being precipitated by growing concerns over the damage the devices are doing to mental health and behavior. In their place, the school will give Nokia handsets popularly known as “bricks,” which allow their owners only to make calls and send text messages.

From September, pupils going into their first year, usually aged 13, will be expected to hand in their smartphones in return for these streamlined devices. Your child will be provided with a school Nokia handset and their SIM card will be transferred to this phone, Eton’s deputy head in charge of pastoral care, Mike Grenier, told parents in a letter outlining the change. Grenier emphasized that while cell phones are indeed useful instruments if used in a responsible manner, there is a host of challenges related to them that have their root causes in aspects of socialization, misuse, overuse, and negative effects on mental and physical health.

This initiative follows similar actions by other educational institutions. Alleyn’s School in Dulwich has urged parents not to buy smartphones for their children, and All Saints Catholic College in Notting Hill has extended its school day partly to curb students’ addiction to these devices. The head of Streatham and Clapham High School has also advised parents to keep phones out of their children’s bedrooms and to purchase them only when absolutely necessary.

Smartphone Free Childhood has welcomed this step on the part of Eton but said wider societal measures were needed. Joe Ryrie, the group’s co-founder, mentioned that the impact is much worse in children from lower economic households who are spending more hours looking at screens and are vulnerable to threats online.

According to the head of All Saints Catholic College, Andrew O’Neill, the extent of the phone addiction is linked to the fact that social media has made young people “brand managers” who are unable to escape a constant sense of pressure.

The initiative that Eton has taken could be a ray of hope for institutions grappling with the challenges of this digital age. It underlines a growing consensus that young minds have to be saved from the detrimental results of continuous connectivity.

More for you:

  • Eton pupils to swap their smartphones for offline Nokias from next term.
  • Eton College Bans Smartphones Will Give Out Nokia ‘Bricks’ Instead.

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