Primary and middle school students in Shandong province will not be allowed to use cellphones or tablets in classrooms starting from Nov 1, according to a new regulation.
The regulation, adopted by the provincial legislature last month, calls on schools to keep such devices for the students during schooltime if they bring them to school, with the aim of curbing the incidence of myopia.
Parents should also control the time their children spend on electronic devices, teach them to keep a proper distance from books and screens, and ensure a correct reading position and sufficient lighting, it says.
In late August, the Ministry of Education, the National Health Commission and six other government departments launched a multilayered action plan to help battle nearsightedness in children.
As well as forbidding students from bringing cellphones and tablets to class, the action plan asks teachers not to rely on electronic devices when teaching and giving assignments, and asks them to assign only written homework.
Shandong's regulation is significant, according to a local health expert.
Sun Wei, deputy director of the province's Prevention and Treatment Center for Child Visual Impairment, said using legal tools to protect children's eyesight is of great importance.
The regulation sets out the responsibilities of government organisations, schools and parents to battle nearsightedness in children, he said.
"More than 40 per cent of primary and middle school students in Shandong have myopia and I believe with concerted efforts from government, school, parents and students, the rate can be reduced in the future," Sun said.