How Did Smartphone Bans in Schools Impact Mental Health, Academic Performance, and Bullying Among Middle-School Students in Norway?

How Did Smartphone Bans in Schools Impact Mental Health, Academic Performance, and Bullying Among Middle-School Students in Norway?xr:d:DAFjWr06CQc:4,j:47493282289,t:23051910

Smartphone Bans in Norwegian Schools: Uncovering Impact on Mental Health, Academics, and Bullying

As the use of smartphones in schools continues to spark debate, Norway’s experience with smartphone bans provides valuable insights into their impact on students.

Mental Health: Positive Effects for Girls

The study found that the number of specialist care visits for mental health issues decreased among middle-school girls after smartphone bans were implemented. The longer the girls were exposed to the ban, the fewer visits they needed. The decline in consultations suggests that girls are experiencing less need for care related to mental health issues.

Bullying: Reduced Cases for Both Genders

Educators have long advocated for smartphone bans due to concerns about cyberbullying. The study confirms this belief, showing that bullying decreased for both girls and boys after bans were enacted. Girls reported a 46% reduction in bullying incidents, while boys experienced a 43% decline.

Academic Performance: Gains for Female Students

The study also revealed positive effects on academic performance, particularly among girls. Those who started middle school with bans in place saw improvements in grades and GPAs, and scored higher on externally graded mathematics exams. They were also more likely to attend an academic high school track.

Benefits for Lower Socioeconomic Backgrounds

The study found that girls from lower socioeconomic backgrounds benefited the most from smartphone bans. They saw reduced visits for mental health care and improved grades. This suggests that unstructured technology can be especially distracting for students from low socioeconomic families.

Stricter Bans, Better Outcomes

The study found that gains in academic performance were the greatest among girls who attended middle schools with stricter smartphone bans. Schools that prohibited students from bringing their phones to school or required them to hand them in before classes start yielded the best results.

Balanced Approach

While the study provides compelling evidence for the benefits of smartphone bans in schools, it’s important to note that they may not be the ideal solution for all students. Some may argue that phones can be used for educational purposes or provide a sense of safety. A balanced approach may involve creating designated phone-free zones or limiting usage during specific times.


The study on smartphone bans in Norwegian schools suggests that such policies can have positive effects on the mental health, academic performance, and bullying experiences of middle-school students, particularly girls from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. While more research is needed, the findings provide valuable insights for educators and policymakers considering smartphone bans in schools.

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