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Happy and skillful students - is a phone ban the way?

Talk by Benjamin Ilsøe, Cand. scient. soc.

Info about event


Tuesday 16 March 2021,  at 11:00 - 12:30


Zoom meeting ID 563 610 6271




Happy and skillful students - is a phone ban the way? A sociological multilevel-analysis of the association between phone policies and the well-being and academic performance of students in Danish primary and lower secondary public school


While digital devices and platforms are gaining ground in the Western education system, the research on how cellphones’ affect students socially and academically is yet sparse and ambiguous. This has left a mark on the societal debate, which appears to be driven less by evidence and more by sentiments and political agendas. It is not only evident in the media coverage but has also manifested in practice in the form of implementations of phone ban policies in approximately 60 percent of Danish primary and lower secondary schools. This development is a cause for concern and calls for more research on how phone use and presence in school affects students.

Thus, the purpose of my master thesis has been to investigate the associations between different phone policies and students’ subjective well-being and academic performance in Danish primary and lower secondary public schools. I have combined three different cross-sectional data sets from 2018 – among others the data set from the “Skærm - ikke skærm”-report by Associate Professor Andreas Lieberoth. I have applied multilevel modelling to account for both the fixed and random effects and found no statistical correlation between the variables of interest. My findings suggest that the Danish society - characterized by socioeconomic homogeneity and a public school system with evenly distributed economic and educational resources – alleviates the presumed negative effects of phone use and presence in school. This leaves behind the question: why implement restrictive phone policies at all?


About the speaker


Benjamin Schou Ilsøe, Cand. scient. soc.
Graduate from Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen.