Utah Lawmaker Wants To Ban Cell Phones and Smart Watches in Classrooms

Utah Lawmaker Wants To Ban Cell Phones and Smart Watches in Classrooms

(ConservativeInsider.org) – Since the development of cell phones and smartwatches, they have been slowly making their way to younger users. Now, nearly every student attends school with one of the tiny machines in their pockets, connecting them to the internet, others, and limitless games with just a few taps of the screen. These devices have caused a growing number of distractions in the school setting, pushing many schools to write policies surrounding their use. Now, a Utah lawmaker is proposing a statewide ban on all smart devices in the classroom.

On Monday, January 23, Utah State Representative Trevor Lee (R) introduced HB 270 to the state House. It seeks to prohibit students from using phones and smart watches in class and requires local schools to enforce the bill. Lee told Deseret News that he believes this law encourages teachers and shows them that the government will “back them up” as they restrict cell phone use.

This bill comes as studies continue to show the long-term adverse effects of cell phones and social media use by children. The Mayo Clinic details how kids who use social media for over three hours a day are likely more at risk for mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Of course, in the classroom, these devices can also be a major distraction and draw students away from the lessons at hand.

While there is a lot of support for this bill, not everyone is willing to back the state-wide legislation. The principal of Cedar Middle School told Deseret News that her school already has a total ban on cell phone use during the day, and the bill would force them to allow the use of the devices between classes and at lunch. She disliked the potential change and hopes the lawmakers know every school is different and has different needs.

If passed, students would need to place their phones into provided lockers, which could be pricey. Congressman Lee hopes grants could cover the expenses. Technology is clearly not going anywhere, so legislation like this and debates around these topics will only grow in the coming years.

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