Is It Time For Kids To Power Off Phones? Second-Largest US School District Says Yes, Votes To Initiate First Steps

Zinger Key Points
  • The Los Angeles Board of Education implored the Los Angeles School District to create a phone ban plan.
  • Several researchers have expressed concerns about phone usage among American youth, citing mental health.

The vast majority of Americans now own a cell phone, including the nation’s youth. Amid calls to limit phone usage among those under 18, the Los Angeles Board of Education voted on Tuesday to create a plan for public approval prohibiting phones entirely during the school day. Many other districts have implemented similar policies.

What Happened: The proposal resolved the school district to develop a plan to ban phones during the school day. The district will present the plan to the public within 120 days.

The resolution passed among the Board of Education in a 5-2 vote.

Some board members are skeptical that the policy could be enforced effectively by administrators or equally among students of different racial groups. Others expressed safety concerns.

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Why it Matters: The Los Angeles Board of Education’s decision could serve as a model for other U.S. school districts weighing a smartphone ban.

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, student test scores have crated to historic lows.

Many researchers have tied phone usage among children to the ongoing mental health crisis. Jonathan Haidt, a prominent social psychologist at the NYU Stern School of Business, is among the most vocal advocates of restrictive phone policy. Haidt has tied increased phone usage to instances of self-harm and loneliness among the nation’s youth. Critics of Haidt’s arguments have described his research as “bad science.”

On Monday, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy penned an op-ed in the New York Times arguing for “warning labels,” similar to those placed on cigarette packages, to be placed on social media websites. LA Board of Education member Nick Melvoin compared social media usage to cigarette usage during the board meeting.

A recent Gallup poll found that teens spend an average of 4.8 hours on social media platforms each day. Popular social media platforms among teens include Instagram (a Meta Platforms Inc META property) and Snap Inc SNAP. The most popular phone manufacturers in the U.S. include Apple Inc AAPL, Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd SSNLF.

Now Read: Does ChatGPT Negatively Impact Learning? NYC Bans Students And Teachers From Using Chatbot

Image: Pixabay

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