Children in China will no longer be allowed to use their mobile phones in school, the Ministry of Education said.
Education officials said the prohibition, which applies to both primary and secondary schools, was crafted to clamp down on "addiction" to the internet and electronic games and help students to concentrate on their studies.
The new restriction will also mandate teachers to refrain from using their mobile phones to assign homework, a move that has been welcomed by netizens.
Unless there is a written authorization from their parents and school officials, the students are banned from bringing their mobile phones to the campus, BBC, South China Morning Post and others reported.
Approved requests will require students to turn over their cellphones to school authorities when they arrive each day. The devices will be kept together for use at designated times, but Xinhaua Net reported that education officials said, "should by no means be allowed into classrooms."
The directive, which is effective immediately, is aimed at "protecting the students' eyesight, making them focus on study and preventing them from getting addicted to the internet and games."
It has the added goal of "enhancing students' physical and psychological development," AsiaOne quoted the Ministry of Education as saying on its website.
The number of Internet users in China reached 989 million by end of 2020, an increase of 85.4 million from March of the same year, a report on China's Internet development shows, as per Malaysia Sun.
A total of 986 million people in China used cellphones to surf the Internet, accounting for 99.7% of the total online population, the report said.
The vast majority of teenagers and children in China access the internet through their own mobile phones -- almost three-fourths of under-18 year olds, the government-linked China Internet Network Information Center (CINI) said.
The use of smartphones in school has become a major issue around the world.
In 2018, the French government asked students to leave their electronic gadgets at home before going to school, CNN reported.