In 2009, the long-running German magazine the Spiegel in "Japan plant Handy-Verbot an Schulen" reported that Japan had removed cell phones from schools up to middle school, despite criticism regarding enforcement. The grounds for this action were reported as concerns over social impacts such as harassment.
In "Sorge um Gesundheit: Frankreich will Handys an Schulen verbieten" the Spiegel in 2009 reported that Bayern had followed suit for similar reasons, allowing exceptions if needed for instruction.
In 2009, Frankfurt followed with a ban, but cited concerns over health risks as reason.
The state of Tamil Nadu in India has even banned cell phones in universities due to continuing reports of cheating or taking pictures under girls' skirts. The decision to ban student use has been controversial because university students are adults. However, some teachers have expressed relief due to problems of students not paying attention in classrooms and the difficulty of taking cell phones away during exams.
The Conversation provides a detailed study description in the 2015 "How smart is it to allow students to use mobile phones at school?" by authors of study and article Richard Murphy and Louis-Philippe Bertrand finding school performance improving 6.4% from bans, equivalent to an extra hour of school a week.
And even in workplaces, The Huffington Post reports in "Australian Workplaces Ban Smartphones And Boost Productivity," cell phone bans, some with $5 fines or dismissal if breached, are increasing productivity with one one employer estimating by 20%.
Online at Welt, in the 2015 "Wie das Smartphone Eltern und Lehrer überfordert," Von Inga Michler describes how research polling found 18% of German students were prohibited from general cell phone use in schools and 2/3 prohibited from private use in schools. She discusses a Bitkom study finding that 53% of teachers did not want increased use of new tech in schools. Even those that did reported numerous problems of technology, with 21% worrying over technological failures and others worrying about expense (27%), lack of access (45%), ability (14%), tech breakdowns (21%), and that technology did not always bring positives (26%). While this reflects many concerns, the BitKom study, which after all was funded by BitKom or telecommunications interests, reports this in press release as if more investment is needed--and this attitude is to be expected as BitKom sells software, IT and telecommunications services.
In the Washington Post, Brooke Olsen Romney shares her frustration that some teachers are not able to control cellphone use, dividing class into 20 minutes teaching and the rest free for cell phone use. She states cellphones in school are used to share nude photos & check porn in the bathroom. She observes "lunchrooms are strangely quiet."
Common Sense Media recently reported that in the USA, most adults and youth alike are concerned over too much time on cell phones, disrupting normal social connections and creating animosity.
Jean Twinge reports that from 2012 to 2017 teen depression has surged 33 percent, suicide 23 percent, and ages 12-19 suicide surged 31 percent. According to her research in Clinical Psychological Science the causative factor is screen time. She notes that in 2012, cell phone use crossed the 50% threshold.
As reported by the BBC, France's Emmanuel Macron pledged to enforce France's school cell phone ban, winning parliamentary election, indicating telecommunications companies may be losing the marketing battle in the tide of public opinion.
In the USA, popular opinion is increasingly arrayed against internet and telecommunications giants with concerns of outsize influence, especially on youth, and risks of surveillance as seen compellingly in China, where citizens receive "social credit" scores based on surveillance. In a 14 February 2018 Boston Globe editorial, George Soros also spoke of the dangers of internet monopolies as compelling individuals to surrender “freedom of the mind” by engineering distraction and addiction for commercial purposes.
Still, telecommunications companies continue to report that the answer to everything is more of the same: more cell phones, more computers, more expense.