In brief: France has fulfilled a promise by President Emmanuel Macron to ban smartphone usage among students for the upcoming academic year. Some lawmakers, however, are calling it a publicity stunt that will change nothing.

French lawmakers this week passed legislation that’ll ban the use of smartphones and tablets by students when school starts back in September.

The ban, which will apply to pupils up to the age of 15, is designed to send a message to French society according to Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer. “Mobile phones are a technological advance but they cannot monopolize our lives,” Blanquer previously told LCI news TV channel.

French high schools will be able to decide on an individual basis whether to impose a partial or total ban on connected devices. Exceptions to the law may be made for educational use, extracurricular activities and for students with disabilities.

An earlier law passed in 2010 prohibits students from using smartphones during class but not between classes or during meal times.

According to the Agence France-Presse, nearly nine in 10 French teens between the ages of 12 and 17 own a smartphone.

It’s unclear exactly how schools will enforce the new restrictions as students will still be allowed to bring devices with them to school, they just can’t use them at any time during the school day.

Lead image via Alamy Stock Photo