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posted by hubie on Friday July 07 2023, @06:32AM   Printer-friendly
from the slap-n-stomp dept.

Multiple sites are reporting on The Netherlands' recent decision on the need to ban mobile and "smart" devices from Dutch classrooms.

"Even though mobile phones are almost intertwined with our lives, they do not belong in the classroom," Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf said .

"Students must be able to concentrate there and be given every opportunity to learn well. We know from scientific research that mobile phones disrupt this," he added.

-- The Star

Mobiles, tablets and smartwatches are getting in the way of students' learning and will not be allowed in class from next year, the Dutch government said.

"There is increasing evidence that mobile phones have a harmful effect during lessons", it said.

-- The Straits Times

Mobile phones, tablets and smartwatches will be largely banned from classrooms in the Netherlands from Jan. 1, 2024, the Dutch government said on Tuesday, in a bid to limit distractions during lessons.

Devices will only be allowed if they are specifically needed, for instance during lessons on digital skills, for medical reasons or for people with disabilities.

-- Reuters

The Dutch government is banning mobile phones, tablets and smartwatches from classrooms to minimize distractions, unless the electronic devices are of solid need to the students.

The Education Ministry of the Netherlands said on Tuesday the ban will be enforced starting January 1, 2024. Exceptions will be made for lessons on digital skills, or if students with disabilities or other medical conditions need the devices.

-- Deutsche Welle

Previously:
(2023) Getting Outdoors Reduces Smartphone Use—But Only If You Go Wild
(2023) Research Shows Mobile Phone Users Do Not Understand What Data They Might be Sharing
(2022) PHK on Surveillance Which Is Too Cheap to Meter
(2020) U.S. Schools Are Buying Phone-Hacking Tech That the FBI Uses to Investigate Terrorists
(2019) Medical Students Losing Dexterity to Perform Surgeries Due to Smartphone Usage


Original Submission

Related Stories

Medical Students Losing Dexterity to Perform Surgeries Due to Smartphone Usage 46 comments

https://www.projectcensored.org/medical-students-losing-dexterity-to-perform-surgeries-due-to-smartphone-usage-and-lack-of-creative-hands-on-education/

Surgery students spend so much time swiping on flat, two-dimensional screens that they are losing the ability to perform simple tasks necessary to conduct life-saving operations, such as stitching and sewing up patients. As a result, students have become less competent and confident in using their hands—leading to very high exam grades despite a lack of tactile knowledge.

Roger Kneebone, professor of surgical education at Imperial College, London, argues that two-dimensional flat screen activity is substituting for the direct experience of handling materials and developing physical skills. Such skills might once have been gained at school or at home, by cutting textiles, measuring ingredients, repairing something that’s broken, learning woodwork, or holding an instrument.

Kneebone now notices that medical students and trainee surgeons are not comfortable cutting or tying string because they don’t have practical experience developing and using these skills. He also mentioned that colleagues in various branches of medicine have made the same observation.

See also this BBC news item: Surgery Students ‘Losing Dexterity to Stitch Patients’.


Original Submission

U.S. Schools Are Buying Phone-Hacking Tech That the FBI Uses to Investigate Terrorists 57 comments

U.S. Schools Are Buying Phone-Hacking Tech That the FBI Uses to Investigate Terrorists:

In May 2016, a student enrolled in a high-school in Shelbyville, Texas, consented to having his phone searched by one of the district's school resource officers. Looking for evidence of a romantic relationship between the student and a teacher, the officer plugged the phone into a Cellebrite UFED to recover deleted messages from the phone. According to the arrest affidavit, investigators discovered the student and teacher frequently messaged each other, "I love you." Two days later, the teacher was booked into the county jail for sexual assault of a child.

The Cellebrite used to gather evidence in that case was owned and operated by the Shelby County Sheriff's Office. But these invasive phone-cracking tools are not only being purchased by police departments. Public documents reviewed by Gizmodo indicate that school districts have been quietly purchasing these surveillance tools of their own for years.

[...] Gizmodo has reviewed similar accounting documents from eight school districts, seven of which are in Texas, showing that administrators paid as much $11,582 for the controversial surveillance technology. Known as mobile device forensic tools (MDFTs), this type of tech is able to siphon text messages, photos, and application data from student's devices. Together, the districts encompass hundreds of schools, potentially exposing hundreds of thousands of students to invasive cell phone searches.

[...] The Fourth Amendment protects people in the United States from unreasonable government searches and seizures, including their cell phones. While a search without a warrant is generally considered unreasonable, the situation in schools is a little different.

PHK on Surveillance Which Is Too Cheap to Meter 3 comments

Developer Poul-Henning Kamp (PHK) has written a brief post in the July issue of Communications of the ACM about the cost of surveillance having become negligible. Furthermore, in many cases that surveillance is actually required either by large governments or by large corporations, thus making it cheaper to go with the flow and track people and their online activities very closely as it becomes more and more expensive for programmers and developers to even try to avoid tracking people and their online activities.

During his keynote address, risk management specialist Dan Geer asked the 2014 Black Hat audience a question: "What if surveillance is too cheap to meter?"

As is the case with electricity from nuclear power, technology has little to do with it: This is a question about economy, specifically the economy of the path of least resistance.

Surveillance is ridiculously cheap for governments. Many have passed laws that obligate the surveillance industry—most notably, the mobile network operators—to share their take "at cost," and we know law enforcement uses it a lot.

So why is so much cheap surveillance available for purchase?

Research Shows Mobile Phone Users Do Not Understand What Data They Might be Sharing 18 comments

Language used for app tracking privacy settings causes consumer confusion:

Privacy and security features that aim to give consumers more control over the sharing of their data by smartphone apps are widely misunderstood, shows new research from the University of Bath's School of Management.

43 per cent of phone users in the study were confused or unclear about what app tracking means. People commonly mistook the purpose of tracking, thinking that it was intrinsic to the app function, or that it would provide a better user experience.

App tracking is used by companies to deliver targeted advertising to smartphone users.

[...] The most common misapprehension (24 per cent) was that tracking refers to sharing the physical location of the device - rather than tracing the use of apps and websites. People thought they needed to accept tracking for food delivery and collection services, such as Deliveroo, or for health and fitness apps, because they believed their location was integral to the functioning of the app.

While just over half of participants (51 per cent) said they were concerned about privacy or security – including security of their data after it had been collected - analysis showed no association between their concern for privacy in their daily life and a lower rate of tracking acceptance.

[...] "Some of the confusion is likely to be due to lack of clarity in wording chosen by companies in the tracking prompts, which are easy to misinterpret. For example, when ASOS said 'We'll use your data to give you a more personalised ASOS experience and to make our app even more amazing' it's probably no surprise that people thought they were opting for additional functionality rather than just more relevant adverts."

[...] Other misconceptions included believing that consenting to sharing for health apps (such as period tracking apps) would mean private data being shared, or that denying tracking would remove adverts from the app.

[...] "While people are now familiar with the benefits of having PIN numbers and facial recognition to protect our devices, more work needs to be done so people can make transparent decisions about what other data is used for in the digital age."

Journal Reference:
Hannah J Hutton and David A Ellis, Exploring User Motivations Behind iOS App Tracking Transparency Decisions, CHI '23: Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1145/3544548.3580654


Original Submission

Getting Outdoors Reduces Smartphone Use—But Only If You Go Wild 15 comments

Nature can curb smartphone use, but go beyond your local park and find some wild nature:

While a visit to the great outdoors is a common prescription for reducing screen use, a pioneering new study finds that time outdoors doesn't always reduce smartphone screen time.

The new research, which tracked the smartphone activity of 700 study participants for two years, reveals that participants' smartphone activity actually increased during visits to city parks and other urban green spaces.

With smartphone use rising worldwide, the study identifies a powerful way to reduce screen time: participants who visited nature reserves or forests saw significant declines in screen time over the first three hours, compared to visits to urban locations for the same amount of time.

[...] "Green time, or time outdoors, has long been recommended as a way to restore our attention from the demands of daily life, yet before our study, little was known about whether nature provides a way for people to disconnect from the mobile devices that now follow us into the great outdoors," said lead author Kelton Minor at the Data Science Institute, Columbia University. "While past research suggested that short trips to city parks might provide a digital detox, we saw texting and phone calls actually go up. It was really the longer visits to wilder areas, like forests or nature preserves, that helped people get off their screens and wrest back their attention from their smartphones."

[...] Discussing their findings, the researchers theorize that urban greenspace may instead be useful in enhancing remote social ties—hence the increase in texts and phone calls in urban parks—but may interrupt the individual's opportunity to utilize the attention-restoring properties of nature.

Journal Reference:
Minor, K., Glavind, K. L., Schwartz, A. J., et al. (2023). Nature Exposure is Associated With Reduced Smartphone Use. Environment and Behavior, 55(3), 103–139. https://doi.org/10.1177/00139165231167165


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07 2023, @07:08AM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07 2023, @07:08AM (#1314871)

    Good, seems like they even cater for exceptions where they're genuinely required.

    Meanwhile US schools have distractions like guns... ;)

    p.s. is bullying still a significant problem in Dutch schools? https://nltimes.nl/2016/09/19/bullying-still-daily-problem-dutch-schools-though-fewer-kids-affected [nltimes.nl]

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by shrewdsheep on Friday July 07 2023, @08:21AM (3 children)

      by shrewdsheep (5215) on Friday July 07 2023, @08:21AM (#1314881)

      is bullying still a significant problem in Dutch schools?

      Bullying is a significant problem in all schools at all times. It is the result of establishing the pecking order. Almost all pupils are unable to reflect enough on their own actions and reactions. Please go mentally back to your own time at school.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07 2023, @08:39AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07 2023, @08:39AM (#1314888)
        Didn't experience significant bullying from other schoolkids nor did I commit significant bullying that I can recall. I definitely wasn't any ringleader nor a loner.

        We were quite chill. We'd play boardgames like Risk when the teacher wasn't around or teaching for whatever reason... Also use the school computers to play games.

        Maybe most of us got that sort of thing beaten out of us by our parents... So yeah if you talk about bullying from parents then sure, definitely experienced that... 🤣
        • (Score: 3, Touché) by Runaway1956 on Friday July 07 2023, @11:56AM (1 child)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 07 2023, @11:56AM (#1314900) Journal

          nor did I commit significant bullying that I can recall.

          And, what would you consider "significant"? What might be "significant" to the kid at the bottom of the pecking order? You seem to indicate that maybe you did dump on vulnerable kids a few times, and it made no difference in your life. What did it mean to their lives? Maybe nothing - maybe someone whom they thought of as a potential friend turned on them, destroying any possible chance of a friendship. And, maybe in your next life, you'll be the one who just can't fit in, and everyone dumps on you when they are having a shitty day.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07 2023, @04:32PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07 2023, @04:32PM (#1314939)

            Significant = actual physical contact. Or threat of violence/harm. Or verbal abuse regularly.

            Exceptions are stuff like "mutual combat" - both parties actually fighting for fun - not trying to kill or maim each other. Then of course there was physical contact etc.

            You seem to indicate that maybe you did dump on vulnerable kids a few times,

            Nah. Maybe you're reading yourself too much into this?

    • (Score: 2) by Username on Friday July 07 2023, @08:29AM (3 children)

      by Username (4557) on Friday July 07 2023, @08:29AM (#1314884)

      I think the Netherlands have shootings too, just not in schools, yet.

      How are you going to call for help without a phone?

      Are they going to ban computers as well and do it pen and paper?

      Ban electric lights, go back to natural sunlight and windows?

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by Username on Friday July 07 2023, @08:38AM (2 children)

        by Username (4557) on Friday July 07 2023, @08:38AM (#1314887)

        Upon further investigation they have school shootings as well.

        https://nltimes.nl/tags/school-shooting [nltimes.nl]

        • (Score: 4, Informative) by r_a_trip on Friday July 07 2023, @01:52PM (1 child)

          by r_a_trip (5276) on Friday July 07 2023, @01:52PM (#1314918)

          Not quite. While there are threats we must take seriously and a few actual incidents, so far we haven't had a massive shooting like Columbine in The Netherlands. Guns are far more difficult to acquire here for school age individuals.

          • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Saturday July 08 2023, @08:45AM

            by darkfeline (1030) on Saturday July 08 2023, @08:45AM (#1315063) Homepage

            That's because your students lack the competency to execute effectively. If you do something, you gotta do it right.

            God Bless America, USA #1, etc.

            --
            Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by MostCynical on Friday July 07 2023, @08:58AM

    by MostCynical (2589) on Friday July 07 2023, @08:58AM (#1314893) Journal
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Friday July 07 2023, @12:03PM (2 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 07 2023, @12:03PM (#1314902) Journal

    Finally, a couple countries are figuring out a most basic concept? When I was in school, teachers routinely confiscated all manner of things. They didn't care if you carried a pocket knife, or much of anything else, so long as it STAYED IN YOUR POCKET during class. They would confiscate ANYTHING that you took out and played with during class. Knife, makeup kit, fidget toy, comic book, anything at all.

    Educators can be stupid, and in this case, they most definitely have been. Any educator who spotted a cell phone should have confiscated the damned thing, and the rules should have been that you don't get it back until your parents came in to claim it. Any cell phone that actually RANG during class should have been confiscated, and not returned for a month.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by DannyB on Friday July 07 2023, @02:59PM (1 child)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 07 2023, @02:59PM (#1314927) Journal

      In high school I had a programmable TI-57 calculator. That was a blast. In some classes, I could be writing or running a program, such as a blackjack game on the calculator. At that point I was also heavily in to programming BASIC. I would often be writing code during various boring classes. Especially the entirely pointless ones during say, The Cask of Amontillado, which was very light on the use of any math.

      But won't that stunt my education? I was one of only two who quizzed out of college trig and college algebra to go directly to calc, saving time and money. It seemed eminently practical to me.

      --
      The lower I set my standards the more accomplishments I have.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by jelizondo on Friday July 07 2023, @06:42PM

        by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 07 2023, @06:42PM (#1314953) Journal

        I have a similar experience. As a kid I would doodle on my notebook while the teacher was talking and every time the teacher asked me something, I would reply perfectly. Until the teachers realized I listen with my ears and not with my eyes.

        In college I learned to make notes instead of doodling, which was more respectable and as an adult I learned to fake attention , i.e. look at whoever is talking.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Friday July 07 2023, @01:06PM

    by VLM (445) on Friday July 07 2023, @01:06PM (#1314914)

    My kids school district did the USA thing you'd expect years ago... they issued ipads when they were the new (expensive) hotness, they were a negative distraction, they've locked them down to the point of uselessness, and still pay tons of money issuing new ones on a rotating basis.

    The capex is huge, but its nothing compared to the opex of continually repairing/replacing them, they're not exactly as durable and long lived as a textbook but they sure cost more, and nobody wants to sell software or information, only rent it at even more insane rates. You "should" be able to download an excellent older textbook or community organized textbook for free to a free ebook app on an admittedly expensive tablet, but its all shitware-as-a-service.

    Eventually the idea of hyperexpensive tablets being issued by the schools will be looked at as a 2020-ish sitcom thing and they'll give up. It'll be looked at as weird, like if the school district issued gym shoes to students or swimsuits or ... served them "lunch" containing no food only junk food.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by istartedi on Friday July 07 2023, @06:38PM (2 children)

    by istartedi (123) on Friday July 07 2023, @06:38PM (#1314951) Journal

    When I was a kid, if you had one of those hand-held electronic football games they'd take it away. It was OK to have in your pack to play at lunchtime, but if it came out any other time it was going in to the teacher's desk along with a note you had to take back or something. Same deal with all the other distractions that came along: watches that beeped, had calculators, or played games, etc. Later I heard through the grapevine from people with kids about the other things that came along after I was sprung free of K-12: tamogachi, slap bracelets, etc.

    Schools have never had a problem taking these distractions away, and the only explanation I can think of is that the phones came in as a trojan horse that allowed the children to stay in touch with parents, relieving teachers from the burden of having to arrange communications if something like a belly-ache came up.

    Well it looks like they've finally decided it's mostly a distraction, and that helicopter parents are just going to have to stick it, like their parents did.

    --
    Appended to the end of comments you post. Max: 120 chars.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bussdriver on Saturday July 08 2023, @03:49AM

      by bussdriver (6876) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 08 2023, @03:49AM (#1315040)

      Today's parents are amazingly incompetent. I would expect Dutch to be better BUT it is a big step to go from teachers wasting time policing such things to creating formal blanket policies. It takes time and effort for broad policies. Parents in the USA are nuts and create troubles defending their brats instead of dealing with their brats - long gone is the day the teacher HINTS to a parent and something is done about it by the parent.

      Some crap parent freaking their brat doesn't have a phone 24/7 could have been prevented before a whole generation became addicted to the devices...

    • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Thursday July 13 2023, @01:34AM

      by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Thursday July 13 2023, @01:34AM (#1315831)

      When I was a kid, if you had one of those hand-held electronic football games they'd take it away. It was OK to have in your pack to play at lunchtime, but if it came out any other time it was going in to the teacher's desk along with a note you had to take back or something.

      I remember teachers taking things away from students and keeping them in their desks until the end of the term. I don't recall anyone ever daring to tell their parents they had that happen. Of course, these were relatively minor things like baseball cards, etc.

      Schools have never had a problem taking these distractions away, and the only explanation I can think of is that the phones came in as a trojan horse that allowed the children to stay in touch with parents, relieving teachers from the burden of having to arrange communications if something like a belly-ache came up.

      Teachers never had that burden that I recall. If you complained you were ill you got sent to the school nurse. If they determined you weren't faking, then your parents were called to come and pick you up. Ditto with parents contacting children during school hours. If it was that important, they called the school and administrators would call the student to the office.

      I suppose I should yell about getting off my lawn or something now.

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