Cyprus to ban mobile use in schools

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cyprus is to ban mobile phone use in schools, the education minister said on Wednesday, saying they were too much of a distraction for students and led to anti-social behaviour.

Authorities plan to introduce the ban once it is discussed with parliament, Minister Athena Michaelidou said.

Cyprus will follow several European states in enacting a ban following recommendations from the U.N. agency UNESCO, she said.

"It's clear that the use of a mobile phone distracts students from their lessons, but primarily, its linked to an increase in anti-social behaviour," Michaelidou said.

Students will not be banned from bringing their phones to school but they will not be able to switch them on, she said.

Official data shows that just over 1.4 million mobile phones are operating in Cyprus - more than its population of just under 1 million people in government-controlled areas.

(Reporting by Michele Kambas; Editing by Angus MacSwan)