Study Shows Decrease in Bullying among Girls after Smartphone Ban in Middle Schools of Norway

The findings have sparked discussions globally about the role of smartphones in educational settings and their impact on students
One of the key findings of the study is the decrease in psychological issues among middle-school girls following the implementation of smartphone bans. (Representational image: Pixabay)
One of the key findings of the study is the decrease in psychological issues among middle-school girls following the implementation of smartphone bans. (Representational image: Pixabay)

A recent study conducted in Norway has shed light on the significant benefits of banning smartphones in middle schools. The research, which analyzed data from over 400 schools, revealed positive outcomes in terms of academic performance and mental health, particularly among girls.

Sara Abrahamsson, a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, led the study, which delved into the effects of smartphone bans on student outcomes and psychological well-being. The findings have sparked discussions globally about the role of smartphones in educational settings and their impact on students.

One of the key findings of the study is the decrease in psychological issues among middle-school girls following the implementation of smartphone bans. Data showed a reduction in specialist care visits for mental health issues among girls, indicating a positive shift in their psychological well-being. Additionally, girls reported fewer consultations with general practitioners, suggesting a decrease in the need for mental health-related support.

Furthermore, the study highlighted a significant decline in bullying incidents after the introduction of smartphone bans. Bullying decreased among boys and girls, respectively. After three years of the ban, girls reported a 46% decrease in bullying incidents. Boys' bullying occurrences decreased by around 43% four years after the ban was implemented.

Interestingly, the study found that girls from lower socioeconomic backgrounds benefited the most from smartphone bans.
(Representational image: Unsplash)
Interestingly, the study found that girls from lower socioeconomic backgrounds benefited the most from smartphone bans. (Representational image: Unsplash)

Academic performance among girls showed important improvements as well. Girls attending schools with smartphone bans exhibited higher grades, GPAs, and performances in externally graded mathematics exams. Additionally, girls were more likely to attend academic high school tracks after experiencing a smartphone ban, indicating a positive impact on their educational progression.

My results suggest that a low-cost intervention such as banning smartphones from schools might be an effective policy tool to reduce bullying and improve adolescents’ mental health. The decline in the number of consultations for psychological symptoms and diseases shows that after a ban is implemented, girls are in less need of care related to mental health issues. This effect amounts to an 8–14 percent point increase in the probability of attending an academic high school track relative to the pre-ban years. Between girls, this means that the gap in mental health and educational performance declined along the socioeconomic spectrum
Sara Abrahamsson, Researcher, Norwegian Institute of Public Health

Interestingly, the study found that girls from lower socioeconomic backgrounds benefited the most from smartphone bans. These students experienced greater improvements in their mental health and academic performance compared to their counterparts from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. The findings suggest that smartphone bans may help reduce the disparity in outcomes among students from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

Moreover, stricter smartphone bans yielded the most significant results in terms of academic performance. Schools with policies prohibiting students from bringing phones to school or requiring them to hand in their phones before classes observed greater improvements in student performance compared to schools with more lenient policies.

(Input from various media sources)

(Rehash/ Susmita Bhandary/MSM)

One of the key findings of the study is the decrease in psychological issues among middle-school girls following the implementation of smartphone bans. (Representational image: Pixabay)
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