Ministry's call makes perfect sense to me
Unlike most of today's schoolchildren, I did not own a smartphone until I went to university in 2011, and even then they were far less prevalent among my peers.
My boarding school did not allow students to bring smartphones to the classroom. If I wanted to call my parents, I had to use the school's public telephone and sometimes had to line up and wait my turn.
Digital learning was used far less often too, so not owning a smartphone did not bother me too much.
The ban was implemented strictly at school. Teachers would not hesitate to scold students if they were found using a smartphone during class. If the teacher was in a bad mood, he or she would sometimes smash a student's phone or throw it into the corridor to show that they meant business.
By the time I went to university and then started work, the smartphone had become an indispensible part of daily life. I have been glued to mine ever since: chatting; shopping online; watching videos; checking social media; and watching the news.
The widespread use of WeChat means people know they can contact me any time they want and they do so, regardless of whether I am free or not.
According to my smartphone's log, I use it more than 10 hours a day on average. Most of the time, I am simply checking notifications. To be fair, I am a reporter, so checking news alerts is part of my job.
But there are also alerts for WeChat messages, for Weibo and many other things unrelated to work. These platforms send as many notifications as possible to make sure I keep coming back.
One look at Weibo or WeChat moments can quickly lead me down a rabbit hole of lost time. After all, social media is designed to be addictive.
Moreover, most short-video apps have an infinite scroll, meaning that users can browse endlessly and never run out of fresh content. We feel like we're missing out on what's going on in the world if we do not constantly unlock our phones.
Smartphone dependence is a real thing. It is especially evident whenever the battery dies and I cannot find a charger. The immense pressure from the feeling that I may have missed important calls or that people will be offended if I do not return their messages in timely fashion causes great anxiety.
I sleep with my smartphone beside me and the first thing I do when I wake up is reach for it. I even use it in the shower.
There is really no good way to get rid of smartphone reliance, as our daily lives depend on it. It has replaced books, newspapers, magazines, cameras, TV, game consoles, computers and even my wallet.
Plagued by this reliance, the smartphone ban in the classroom makes perfect sense to me.
If adults have so much trouble with smartphones, it must be even harder for young students to resist the impulse, which could become a major distraction from their studies. Another downside of smartphone dependence is that it promotes a shorter attention span, making it harder for students to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time.
In my opinion, the argument that students will be left behind in the digital world if they are not allowed to play with smartphones in the classroom is a weak one.
Modern children are "digital natives" and they have no problems getting used to all kinds of devices in a very short time. My 1-year-old niece knows how to answer a phone call just by following the actions of people around her.
Banning smartphone use in the classroom does not mean students don't use them completely, and they can still use them at home.