A school in China has been widely criticized in the country for its strict punishments for students who use cell phones on its premises, with the devices being confiscated from their owners before being covered in water and crushed with a hammer.
The middle school, located in the Guizhou province in southwest China, was hit with complaints after a video of an employee smashing a young student’s phone was shared online. As the member of staff breaks the device, another employee can be heard explaining the school’s policy in regards to cell phones over the speaker system. “Any cell phone that’s carried into school against regulations, meaning students haven’t alerted the school or obtained proper credentials, will be soaked in water and then smashed on the ground,” the staff member says.
According to Pear Video on the Chinese social network Weibo, where the footage was initially shared, parents agree with the school’s strict policy. “School staff said that the prohibition of students’ private mobile phones is to facilitate the management of students,” Pear Video reports, adding that “parents agreed” with the smashing of the devices.
WATCH: This middle school in China's Guizhou province enforces its ban on cellphones with a hammer. What's your take on it? pic.twitter.com/SzdQto4q27
— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) June 22, 2017
However, viewers of the footage on Weibo were far less impressed by the strict tactic. “The phone is a private item, the school has no right to destroy someone else’s personal belongings,” one user wrote. “Brutal education, cultural shame,” another added.
Speaking to Pear Video, a school official said: “We’ve repeated this a lot of times, and there is nothing more we can do for [students] who try to hide their phones, except to destroy the phones right in front of them.”
Though the school’s methods for persuading students against using their cell phones have been condemned by others in China, the country is facing widespread issues when it comes to excessive internet use. As one of the first countries to label internet addiction as a clinical disorder, military-style boot camps have been set up throughout the country in order to treat those diagnosed with the condition, with parents sending their children off to six-month programs in order to curb their problematic behavior.
In an RT documentary on online addiction in China Mr. Tao Ran, the Director of China’s Youth Rehabilitation Base, explained the extent of the addiction: “People swept up in an online addiction often played in online groups, and if one of the player’s needs to pee during the game, he was so afraid of interrupting the game that he would put on a diaper.”
He continued: “These people played computer games 24/7, and they can’t communicate with others. They are completely hopeless with household chores, and have just one meal each day.”
Though China’s internet addiction is becoming a growing concern, many still believe that the unorthodox methods employed by the school are an overreaction. However, with their parents’ consent, the school plans to continue to destroy any smartphones that are used on its premises without prior consent.