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The Los Angeles School Board Voted to Prohibit Smartphones

The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education voted 5-2 to ban smartphones for kids. Policy will be established within 120 days and implemented by January 2025. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy advocated putting warning labels on social media networks.

A school bus
Credit: REUTERS

To prevent distractions and preserve kids' mental health, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education voted to prohibit smartphones for its 429,000 students.


Board member Nick Melvoin, who introduced the resolution, expressed confidence in the outcome, saying, "I think we're going to be on the vanguard here, and students and this entire city and country are going to benefit as a result."


The call to prohibit smartphones in schools follows U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy's recent recommendation for warning labels on social networking platforms, matching them to those found on cigarette products.


Los Angeles school officials will now study other ways to execute the ban. They will investigate whether phones should be stored in pouches or lockers during school hours, with exceptions for kids of various ages and those with learning or physical limitations.


The officials will also look into the use of technology to restrict access to social media platforms, as well as the usage of other devices like smartwatches. However, not every board member supported the resolution. George McKenna voted against it, citing worries that the policy was overly restrictive.


Scott Schmerelson also voted "no," citing concerns about the ban's scope and enforcement. Los Angeles joins an increasing number of school districts that have imposed similar restrictions on smartphone and social media use. Florida, with 2.8 million public school pupils, approved legislation last year forcing schools to restrict student use to social media.


Several other states have proposed similar measures. While research into the mental health risks associated with excessive social media use is still ongoing, Surgeon General Murthy underlined the importance of immediate action. He cited a research published in the medical journal JAMA that suggested that adolescents who spend more than three hours per day on social media may be more likely to develop mental illnesses. Furthermore, a Gallup poll found that the average teenager spends 4.8 hours each day on social media.


The Los Angeles school system highlighted research linked mobile addiction to higher instances of anxiety and cyberbullying.

 
  • Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education votes 5-2 to ban smartphones for students

  • Policy to be developed within 120 days and implemented by January 2025

  • Surgeon General Vivek Murthy calls for warning labels on social media platforms


Source: REUTERS

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