French schools ban mobile phones

Paris, French children are saying "bonjour" to the new academic year and "au revoir" to their cellphones during school hours.

That's because a new law has come into effect which outlaws phone use by students up to the age of 15. The legislation, which follows a campaign promise by French President Emmanuel Macron, also banishes tablets and smart watches.

The ban is also in place during break times, with exceptions in cases of emergency and for disabled children, the French Education Ministry said in a statement. In emergencies, students can ask their teachers or supervisors for permission to use their phones. Meanwhile, high schools can voluntarily implement the measure.

National Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said the new rules aim to help children focus on their lessons, better socialise and reduce social media use. The ban is also designed to fight online bullying and prevent thefts and violence in school.

Blanquer has hailed the legislation as "a law for the 21st century," that would improve discipline among France's 12 million students, according to USA Today newspaper citing AFP .

"Being open to technologies of the future doesn't mean we have to accept all their uses," Blanquer said in June as the bill was going through parliament.

Nearly 90 percent of French 12- to 17-year-olds have a mobile phone, and supporters say the ban could limit the spread of violent and pornographic content among children.

Source: Bahrain News Agency