United States

No More Smartphones In Schools, Gov. Hochul Calls For 'Dumb' Phones For Students

New York Governor Kathy Hochul is advocating for a ban on smartphones in schools to protect children from the potential harms of modern technology. The proposal aims to limit students to using basic phones capable of texting but without internet access.

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New York Governor Kathy Hochul Photo: X
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Governer Kathy Hochul is very concerned about New York’s children and so in a bid to shield New York’s children from the potential harms of modern technology, she is advocating for a ban on the use of smartphones in schools. This proposal aims to limit students to using basic "dumb" phones capable of texting but without internet access.

The self-professed "first mom governor" of New York is also pressing for a ban on “addictive” social media algorithms that she believes target young users. “Our kids are being pulled into a place that is often very dark,” she stated on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” adding a strong rebuke to tech companies: “I’m saying, leave our kids alone… stop selling our kids’ personal data for your financial gain.”

The proposed smartphone ban, which Hochul plans to introduce in the state’s legislative session beginning January 2025, is still light on specifics. Questions remain about how students who rely on phones for homework or security would be affected, and whether older students might be exempt or allowed to carry but not use smartphones in school premises.

What do parents and students think?

Parents like Tribeca mom Atsuko Desadier support the initiative. “I have a 14-year-old and I want to ban Snapchat and TikTok,” she told The Post. “Snapchat is really bad. I think schools should ban cell phones during school so the students can focus.”

But some students are skeptical. Darlin Mendez, a 14-year-old student, believes teens will find ways around such restrictions. “There’s pros and cons. Sometimes we use social media a lot and it can be distracting. But we do need it for school,” she said.

Heissel Ajsivinac, 17, also from the same school, raised concerns over proposed ban as it could hinder their studies. “In our school we have a lot of trouble with the internet sometimes so even signing onto the computer to do certain assignments isn’t easy,” she said. “It’s easy to pull out your phone and you have everything there.”

On the other hand, the proposed Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids bill is being considered by lawmakers. This legislation would prevent social media companies from using algorithms designed to keep children engaged for extended periods. Moreover, the New York Child Data Protection bill would restrict the sale of minors’ user data and mandate parental controls.

 “We owe it to her generation to put guardrails in place to protect her mental health, just as previous generations did with the pressing issues of their time,” Gov. Hochul wrote. “We stopped marketing tobacco to kids. We raised the drinking age. And today, we’re fighting to protect kids from the defining problem of our time.”

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