Local School Districts Are Curtailing Student Cell Phone Usage. Good.

Axios Atlanta tells us that the Marietta School Board voted unanimously to restrict cell phone usage by students in middle school.

Similar policies are popping up across the country, and parents and students should rejoice.

Evidence is mounting that cell phone usage by teens is harmful. Professor Jonathan Haidt has a new book on this subject called “The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness.”

Haidt shows how the “play-based childhood” began to decline in the 1980s, and how it was finally wiped out by the arrival of the “phone-based childhood” in the early 2010s. He presents more than a dozen mechanisms by which this “great rewiring of childhood” has interfered with children’s social and neurological development, covering everything from sleep deprivation to attention fragmentation, addiction, loneliness, social contagion, social comparison, and perfectionism. He explains why social media damages girls more than boys and why boys have been withdrawing from the real world into the virtual world, with disastrous consequences for themselves, their families, and their societies.

https://www.amazon.com/Anxious-Generation-Rewiring-Childhood-Epidemic/dp/0593655036

No doubt there will be opponents of schools enacting these types of restrictions. Others will say parents should decide this not school systems. But remember these policies only are in effect when students are on campus, where they should be learning.

I for one applaud Marietta City Schools and hope many other systems in Georgia will follow their lead.

For more on Jonathan Haidt’s work on the negative effects of social media and cell phones, check out his Substack: “After Babel.”

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