New York Governor to Launch Bill Banning Smartphones in Schools

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) plans to introduce a bill banning smartphones in schools as part of her ongoing efforts to safeguard children’s online safety. Hochul highlighted the dangers of addictive algorithms, which she believes trap young people in a virtual world, isolating them from human connection and normal classroom activities.

The proposed bill, set to be introduced in the January 2025 legislative session, would permit students to carry simple phones that allow texting but lack internet access. Hochul emphasized that parents want to maintain communication with their children in emergencies, particularly given concerns about school shootings.

In addition to the smartphone ban, Hochul is pushing for two other bills aimed at protecting children online. The Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids Act would mandate that social media platforms provide minors with chronological feeds and allow parents to block nighttime notifications. The New York Child Data Protection Act aims to restrict the collection of children’s personal data by online sites without parental consent.

Despite opposition from big tech companies, which spent heavily on lobbying against these measures, Hochul remains determined. “You’re not going to profit off the mental health of children in the state of New York,” she declared.

Hochul says it’s to protect kids’ mental health, but maybe she’s just tired of teachers’ dance routines going viral.