China has taken a bold stance on cell phones in the classroom by banning their use across the board in its primary and middle schools.

The cell phone ban comes as the country looks to expand its efforts to protect students against internet and video game addiction, state-run new outlet Xinhaua Net reported.

Both primary and middle school students are prohibited from bringing their cell phones into the classroom, according to a notice from the Chinese Ministry of Education, Xinhaua Net said.

Exceptions may be made for students who need to have a cell phone available at school. The Ministry of Education said they can obtain a special request from school authorities that requires written consent from their guardians.

Approved requests will require students to hand in their cell phones to school authorities when they arrive each day. The phones will be kept together for use at designated times, but according to Xinhaua Net, the Ministry said, “Should by no means be allowed into classrooms.”

The Ministry of Education continued by saying, “Further measures will be put in place by schools to better meet students' needs in reaching their parents over the phone while on campus,” but gave no indication what those measures would include.

China's ban contrasts with school policies in the U.S., where cell phone regulations are established by individual districts. However, most American students are allowed to bring their cell phones into the classroom as long as they don't use them during instruction.

China also voted to adopt a revision of its law on the Protection of Minors that will provide more safeguards for young people against internet products and services that induce addiction, Xinhaua Net reported in October. The revised law will go into effect on June 1, 2021.

The law will now require online service providers of games, livestream, audio and video, and social media to set up functions that include time limits and consumption guidelines for minors. Parents and guardians will also have the right to inform providers to delete, block, or disconnect links if cyberbullying occurs, Xinhaua Net said.

Cellphones The practice of "unlocking," or configuring a mobile phone to avoid specific carrier network restrictions, has been illegal since Jan. 26, 2013. Photo: Reuters