Legislation passed Monday will effectively ban students between 3 and 15 years of age from using smartphones, CNN reported. Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer pointed to what he called the "phenomenon of screen addiction" as crucial in the decision. "Our main role is to protect children and adolescents," he told local outlet BFMTV. "It is a fundamental role of education, and this law allows it."
Those who weren't down with the new law, including Unbowed France party deputy Alexis Corbière, instead pointed to previous legislation as proof this latest move would likely not have much impact. While some would-be voters chose to abstain, the new law ultimately passed 62 to 1. The fate of in-school smartphone enjoyment for students over the age of 15 is still left in the hands of school officials.
Though it's no surprise, smartphone usage among French teenagers—specifically those between the ages of 12 and 17—has risen significantly over the past decade. In 2005, an estimated 72 percent had smartphone access, compared to more than 90 percent as of 2016.
Previously in French smartphone-related blocks, a 2017 law forced companies with more than 50 employees to stop pestering workers on the weekends with emails. Some criticized the law, however, as being at direct odds with the direction in which society appears to be going. "You can pass laws to protect people from dangers like speeding," Jean Luc Bauché, some random guy at a Paris gym, told NPR last year. "But this law won't work because it's counter to the way society is evolving."