Gov. Kathy Hochul considers smartphone ban in New York schools

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Friday, May 31, 2024
Gov. Hochul considers smartphone ban in New York schools
Kemberly Richardson has more on the potential cell phone ban.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Gov. Kathy Hochul is considering a ban on smartphones in New York schools to keep children safe and make sure their attention is on learning.

The governor says it is harmful for kids to scroll through their social media feeds -- especially during school hours.

"Why are our young people on their devices all day long during school hours?" Hochul asked during an interview on MSNBC on Thursday morning. "How are they learning?"

Hochul says addictive algorithms make young people prisoners in a space where they are cut off from social connections.

She is suggesting a low-tech solution -- flip phones without internet access -- so parents can still call or text if there is an emergency.

"You don't have to be in the world of social media throughout the day," she said.

But many teens consider their phone an essential appendage.

"Sometimes teachers give us the opportunity to use them, so is it really that bad if I'm using it if I can," said student Konsta Konstantopoulos.

Students at Stuyvesant High School told Eyewitness News reporter Kemberly Richardson that there are some rules in place. For instance, they can't make phone calls in the hallway.

Student Gabriella Vernik said she has no problem with that.

"Usually, we have a five-minute break and I'll check messages, but in class I'm focused on whatever teachers are doing," Vernik said.

Hochul said she will likely submit a bill later this year so that lawmakers can vote on it in next year's legislative session.

Until then, she plans to talk to parents and educators.

"I want to have conversations first, I think talking to the parents, I have already, this is something they would welcome," she said.

New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks said phone usage in public schools is a school-by-school policy that will be readdressed in light of Hochul's proposed ban.

"Kids are on these phones 24 hours a day, and there is all types of research that is coming in, talking about all the negative impacts that its having on them," Banks said. "In light of what the governor just said, I think its incumbent on us to absolutely start exploring these issues."

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