Students at a college in Salford have swapped smartphones for so-called ‘dumb phones’ in an experiment looking at young people’s digital habits.

The ‘digital detox’ is part of a BBC project involving teenagers at Media City’s UTC (University Technical College), who have agreed to trade in their phones for a basic Nokia phone.

TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram were be swapped for audio calls and a limited number of text messages.

College principal Colin Grand says the experiment posed a challenge for the students, some of whom spend up to 30 hours a week looking at their screens.

The students found making phonecalls and being unable to pay using the phones difficult – and missed keeping up with groups chats and social media.

But parents of the teens say it has made the students are sleeping better, working harder and are more outgoing.

Students and staff appeared on BBC Breakfast this week to discuss their experience of being without their smartphones.

Head of School Sharon Cross said: “It’s been a fascinating project to hear how some of our students felt like they’d got themselves back from being addicted.

“It’s our jobs as educators to ensure students can use their phones professionally.”

A group of cross-party MPs recently recommended an outright ban on smartphones for all under-16s.

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