School Districts to Ban Phone Usage

Adam Lenk, Features Editor

California school districts may be required to make new policy to quell the use of phones on school campus. Assembly Bill 272, proposed by 66th District Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, would severely alter school attitudes towards cell phones on campus.  

The bill states, “There is growing evidence that unrestricted use of smartphones by pupils at elementary and secondary schools during the school day interferes with the educational mission of the schools, lowers pupil performance, particularly among low-achieving pupils, promotes cyberbullying, and contributes to an increase in teenage anxiety, depression, and suicide.”

Long have the effects of social media been suspected to cause depression and anxiety in students, and recent studies have occurred and reaffirmed this common belief.  The National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) released a detailed report in relation to the effects of social media and mental health saying, “…it is clear that during the past 10 years, online social networking has caused significant changes in the way people communicate and interact. It is unclear, however, whether some of these changes affect normal aspects of human behavior and cause psychiatric disorders. In the future, additional research will be needed to identify and describe the potential relationship between the use of SNS and various mental health issues.”

Questions remain though, about the fairness of the policy. Is it fair to punish students who handle the responsibility of school and also take the steps to lead mentally healthy lives with policies aimed towards students who abuse their phone privileges? Although the bill will still need to be voted into law to be enacted, the benefits behind the policy will need to be adequately examined before a definitive conclusion can be had.