Huawei is the biggest manufacturer of smartphones in the Chinese market and right now, it is under wide criticism in its home market. This is due to a customized smartphone which has apps that monitor the activities of students and share the data with parents and school.
According to a report from Chinese media, the Taiwanese smartphone maker had made two customized smartphones which feature a “student management system”. The company introduced the devices to parents at a meeting. The meeting was held at Liuzhou High School located in China’s southwestern Guangxi province.
Of the two smartphones which were introduced, one of them is a customized version of the Huawei Nova 4. The phone features a “time and content management functions” which allows it to track the amount of time a student spends on the phone and also let the school locked the phone.
According to the report, Huawei research arm which is based in the central Chinese city of Wuhan is responsible for the design of the student surveillance system. The phone is capable of filtering content and also recognizing content which the school sees as harmful.
A school official said in an interview with The Beijing News that some parents had initially brought up the idea of restricting students from spending too much time on their phones. He also said that there isn’t any motivation for parents or students to buy or use these phones.
Huawei, however, issued a statement to TechNode in which they denied that they had anything to do with the student monitoring system. The company also said that it was a “publicity stunt” and Guangxi-based information technology company, Zhongheyixun is responsible for it.
It appears that concerns about students being addicted to their smartphones are the reason the student surveillance system was created. A Screen Time feature on iOS 12 was recently released by Apple as a tool to help tackle the issue.