The eighth-grade girls already know what to expect from France's new smartphone ban in all primary and middle schools because their school voluntarily instituted one last year, reports The New York Times.
"Annoying," was the assessment of Zoélinh Masson, 12, as her friend Grace Blahourou, 13, agreed.
Still, they said that with no smartphones, students did talk to one another more.
France's education ministry hopes that its smartphone ban, which took effect at the beginning of September and applies to students from first through ninth grades, will get schoolchildren to pay more attention in class and interact more, and several studies suggest such correlations.
Some experts are sceptical that the ban can be enforced, and some teachers question the merits of insulating children from the internet-dominated world they will face outside school. But the French government believes that without minimising distractions, children will never learn the basics.
"If we want to prepare children in the 21st century, we must give them the tools of modernity: mastery of math, of general culture, the ability to flourish in social relationships, a capacity to discuss with others, to understand and respect others and then very strong digital skills," said Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer.
"It's a message we send to society: Do not always be on your phones."
The smartphone ban expands on a current law that applied only to junior high grades and forbade the use of smartphones during class.
The new law includes lower grades and will also apply to the entire school grounds, including the schoolyard. The only exception is when smartphones' use is assigned by a teacher.
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