A Perthshire private school has banned mobile phones in a bid to break pupils’ “addiction” to social media.
Dorothy MacGinty, principal of Kilgraston girls school in Bridge of Earn, is worried her 260 pupils, aged between five and 18, are being bombarded with sexualised portrayals of women online, as well as being distracted from their schooling by social media.
When the new term started last week, pupils were told phones must be kept in lockers and tablet computers can only be used when needed for classes.
Mrs MacGinty said: “Before the ban, if the girls had to be without their phones they would get quite stressed about it and parents said they were finding it difficult to implement screen-free time at home.
“It was definitely impeding their ability to concentrate in classes but even in the common rooms they would sit on their phones while they chatted, they weren’t talking to each other properly.
“As well as the impact on their concentration, I am very concerned about how much these young girls are bombarded with images and advertisements of sexualised women and being told how they should look.
“I want them to have some relief from that.”
In little more than a week since the ban was enforced, Mrs MacGinty has already noticed a difference in the pupils, some of whom as young as six years old own mobile phones.
“I have no regrets at all,” she said.
“Already I have noticed the girls are talking to each other and going outside more than they used to.
“Some of the older girls questioned it but we explained the reasoning behind it and I think that is very important.
“Girls as young as six have mobile phones and I think if adults don’t take the initiative to change this then children will become more addicted at an earlier age.”
The rule came into force as the French government has banned all students under the age of 15 from using phones, tablets and smartwatches at school.