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Tags: education | smartphones
OPINION

Schools Hanging Up on Smart Phones Teach Valuable Lesson

students using smartphones
(Dreamstime)

James Hirsen By Tuesday, 09 July 2024 10:25 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Just when it seemed that no common ground between the right and the left in the country could be found, an issue has emerged where both sides are in agreement: It’s time to rid the classrooms of mobile digital devices, aka smartphones, during school hours.

In numerous places across the country, school districts have been banning cell phone usage by students, due to the increased awareness of the detrimental effects that unsupervised technological and social media engagement can have on the physical, mental, social and emotional development of our children.

Counted among the diverse states, counties, cities and towns that have opted to restrict mobile devices in schools is none other than the Left Coast’s deep blue City of Angels.

Recently, the large and highly influential Los Angeles Unified School District Board approved a resolution to develop a policy to ban student use of cell phones and social media platforms.

The actual implementation of the policy will not take place until 2025. However, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has apparently taken a cue from Florida, which back in 2023 was the first state to enact such a ban.

Gov. Newsom recently proposed statewide legislation regarding a smartphone ban in schools, which will take effect in 2026.

Other blue state governors have also joined in the mix, including New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is pursuing a statewide ban on smartphones beginning in 2025.

Gov. Hochul recently commented about what she referred to as “these addictive algorithms,” stating that the technology is able to “literally capture them [schoolchildren] and make them prisoners in a space where they are cut off from human connection, social interaction and normal classroom activity.”

Earlier in 2024 Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a ban on smartphones in classrooms, which recently took effect on July 1.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed legislation that leaves decisions up to local school administrators to create their own smartphone bans if so desired.

The Virginia Senate is working on a similar bill, which would empower school boards to develop and implement smartphone bans.

At the federal level, two U.S. senators, Republican Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Democrat Tim Kaine of Virginia, recently joined forces on legislation that allows for a nationwide study to be conducted on the effects of smartphone use in schools.

Bans on mobile digital decvices have been prompted by a flood of negative effects that have resulted from the excessive and escalating use of smartphones and social media apps by children.

A vast majority of teachers have determined smartphones to be a serious distraction in classrooms.

Nearly three-quarters of high school teachers in the U.S. view smartphones as a major distraction in the classroom, according to a November 2024 Pew poll.

Research continues to indicate that unrestricted smartphone usage can negatively impact the mental development of young people.

A 2023 University of North Carolina study found that when adolescents engage in the habitual activity of checking their smartphones, it actually “changes how their brains respond to the world around them.”

Co-author Mitch Prinstein stated, “Our research demonstrates that checking behaviors on social media could have long-standing and important consequences for adolescents’ neural development, which is critical for parents and policy-makers to consider when understanding the benefits and potential harms associated with teen technology use.”

The power of smartphones to distract is clearly supported by data. Children ages 8-12 spend more than five hours per day on smartphones, while teenagers spend in excess of eight hours per day.

However, the capacity of smartphones to distract may not be the most serious aspect of the issue. Many young people may be experiencing the fallout of the inherent addictive qualities that the devices possess.

In his recently released book titled The Anxious Generation, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt argues that the smartphone-driven “great rewiring of childhood” is causing an “epidemic of mental illness.”

The author states that his research has identified a strong link between smartphone use and declining mental health.

In April of 2024, Policy Exchange, a British educational think tank, published a study titled “The Case for a Smartphone Ban in Schools.”

The study suggests that there is a “link between smartphone ownership, social media use and a greater prevalence of mental and behavioral disorders amongst children and young people.”

The study also demonstrates that there is “a clear correlation between an effective phone ban and better school performance.”

It’s great to have the empirical data to bolster our parental, community, and common sense instincts.

It’s even greater to have a theme that we can all rally around: Ditch the smartphones and save the kids.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read James Hirsen's Reports — More Here.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


JamesHirsen
In his recently released book titled "The Anxious Generation," social psychologist Jonathan Haidt argues that the smartphone-driven “great rewiring of childhood” is causing an “epidemic of mental illness.”
education, smartphones
797
2024-25-09
Tuesday, 09 July 2024 10:25 AM
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