Following implementation across the Atlantic, around 250 British schools are trialling a product created by a San Francisco-based company called Yondr.
On arrival at school, students must put their phones into Yondr's special pouches. These are then locked with a magnetic pin (similar to those used to prevent theft in clothing stores), and while the children are allowed to keep the pouch in their school bag, they are not able to use their phones until the end of the day, when a teacher takes out the unlocking device.
Parents everywhere know that phones are a distraction and can intuitively sense that their children being glued to screens must negatively impact their educational performance. More and more studies are coming to their aid.
Research from the University of Utah shows that teenagers who use social media throughout the day are three times more likely to suffer from depression, while earlier this summer, Unesco, the United Nations cultural body, called for a global ban on phones in schools after a large-scale international assessment indicated a negative link between excessive use and student performance.
According to research carried out by Yondr, a San Francisco-based company founded in 2014, more than 80 percent of schools using the pouches see an improvement in student mental health and engagement, while over 65 percent report better behaviour and academic results.
Teachers responding to a survey said they had gained as much as 10 minutes of additional teaching time per lesson, and one American school reported they were five weeks ahead of schedule, while another said more library books had been checked out in one week than the whole of the previous year.
Perhaps, someday soon, it will be the teenagers accustomed to putting away their phones for large parts of the day who have to teach the rest of us how to behave.