Sunday, July 14, 2024
Smartphone news

California Governor supports new measures to restrict smartphone use during school hours

A hot potato: California looks set to implement a statewide ban on the use of smartphones by students during school hours. Governor Gavin Newsom said he is supporting the restriction on the same day that the Los Angeles public school board voted to ban student phone usage on campuses during school hours.

Newsom said he wants to build on legislation he signed in 2019 that gave California school districts the authority to limit or ban smartphone use during the school day, with some exceptions for extenuating circumstances.

In his statement, Newsom cited the recent calls by the US Surgeon General for social media platforms to carry health warning labels similar to those on cigarettes and alcohol. Dr. Vivek Murthy has called on Congress to apply labels to the sites and apps that alert users to the potential mental health harms they cause.

As noted by CBS News, the California School Boards Association said any regulations over student smartphone use should be left up to school districts, not the state.

“We support legislation which empowers school leaders to make policy decisions at a local level that reflect their community’s concerns and what’s necessary to support their students,” spokesperson Troy Flint said.

Newsom’s statement was released on the same day that the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest in the county, voted to ban cellphone and social media use in its schools. The policy will be implemented in January next year.

Two LA board members voted against the ban. One told The New York Times that he voted against it as teachers are already facing difficulties in enforcing restrictions in schools. He also mentioned the main reason why there has been pushback against this sort of ban: the prospect of parents not being able to contact their children in the event of a school shooting.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said in May that she intends to launch a bill that will allow kids to only use dumb phones, rather than those with full internet access, while on school property. The devices lack internet access but can send texts and make calls, which sounds like feature, or dumb, phones.

More states are pursuing phone bans in schools. Last year, Florida became the first state to require all its public schools to bar students from using their handsets during class. In April, Indiana passed a law requiring school districts to adopt policies banning students from having wireless devices during class time. Kentucky, Vermont, Tennessee, and Kansas are considering similar laws.

What are your feelings on schools banning smartphones? Is it needed, or does it pose an unnecessary risk to students? Let us known in the comments below.


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