Skip to Content Facebook Feature Image

California governor wants to restrict smartphone usage in schools

News

California governor wants to restrict smartphone usage in schools
News

News

California governor wants to restrict smartphone usage in schools

2024-06-19 05:21 Last Updated At:05:51

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that he wants to restrict students' usage of smartphones during the school day, citing the mental health risks of social media.

The announcement, which was first reported by Politico, comes a day after U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called on Congress to require warning labels on social media platforms and their effects on young people. Newsom said he plans to build on a law he signed in 2019 that authorized school districts to limit or ban the use of smartphones by students while at school or under the supervision of a school employee.

“As the Surgeon General affirmed, social media is harming the mental health of our youth," the Democratic governor said in a statement. "I look forward to working with the Legislature to restrict the use of smartphones during the school day. When children and teens are in school, they should be focused on their studies — not their screens.”

Newsom’s office did not provide further details on the proposal. But the California School Boards Association said any regulations over student smartphone use should be left up to school districts, not the state.

“We support legislation which empowers school leaders to make policy decisions at a local level that reflect their community's concerns and what's necessary to support their students,” spokesperson Troy Flint said.

Newsom's announcement comes amid growing debate across the country over how to address the impacts of social media and smartphone usage, particularly on young people. Some teens have pledged to stay off social media to improve their mental health and to help them focus on schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

In Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year signed one of the most restrictive bans in the nation on children's use of social media. The New York state Legislature passed a bill earlier this month that would allow parents to block their kids from getting social media posts suggested to them by the platform's algorithm.

In California, a proposal to fine social media platforms for addicting children has failed to become law in recent years. But a bill by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, a Democrat representing Berkeley, that would ban online platforms from providing addictive feeds to minors passed the state Senate in May and is set for a committee hearing in the Assembly next month.

The Los Angeles Unified School District board voted Tuesday for the district to develop policies banning students' use of cell phones throughout the school day, with some exceptions. Board Member Nick Melvoin, who was a teacher and visits school campuses regularly, said he's been "struck" by how “students are glued to their cell phones, not unlike adults.”

“When I talk to teachers and students and parents and principals, I also hear the same, which is that more and more time is being spent on policing student phone use,” he said at the meeting. “There's not coherent enforcement, and they're looking for some support from the board and from the district.”

State Sen. Henry Stern, a Democrat representing part of the Los Angeles area, introduced a bill this year to expand school districts' authority to limit students' social media usage at schools. Stern said he'd be willing to pull his bill, which already passed the Senate, if lawmakers and Newsom can come up with a better solution. Stern said he texted Newsom to thank him after the governor’s announcement.

“It's just too hard for every teacher, every school, or every parent to have to figure this out on their own,” Stern said. “There's some times where government just has to step in and make some bigger rules of the road.”

Austin is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Austin on the social platform X: @sophieadanna

FILE - California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a rally June 7, 2024, in San Francisco. Newsom announced Tuesday, June 18, 2024, that he wants to restrict students' usage of smartphones during the school day, citing the mental health risks of social media. (Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)

FILE - California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a rally June 7, 2024, in San Francisco. Newsom announced Tuesday, June 18, 2024, that he wants to restrict students' usage of smartphones during the school day, citing the mental health risks of social media. (Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Yemen's Houthi rebels on Friday claimed responsibility for an early morning drone strike that hit a part of central Tel Aviv near the United States Embassy, leaving at least 10 injured and one dead.

The aerial strike rumbled through the streets causing shards of shrapnel to rain down and spreading shards of glass over a large radius. The Houthis have repeatedly launched drones and missiles toward Israel throughout the nine-month-long war, in solidarity with the Palestinian people and against Israel. But until Friday, all were intercepted by either Israel or Western allies with forces stationed in the region.

Yahya Sare'e, the Houthis' spokesperson, said in a statement published on the social media platform X that the strike was made in retaliation to the war underway in Gaza between Israel and Hamas and had hit one of many of the group's targets.

The Houthis claimed that their newest drones can bypass Israel's aerial defense systems. However, a spokesperson for Israel's military said on Friday that the explosive-laden drone had been identified on Thursday and attributed the hit to “human error.” The military's assessment of aerial threats has not changed because, the military said, Israel's adversaries have attempted such strikes for months.

“It was a terror attack that was targeted to kill civilians in Israel,” the Israeli spokesperson said.

The Houthi strike hit hours after Israel's military confirmed one of its airstrikes had killed a Hezbollah commander and other militants in southern Lebanon. Israel has so far not made attacks on the Houthis, allowing its allies instead to take the lead as it focuses its efforts on the war in Gaza and ongoing fighting with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group.

It comes as international mediators continue to hold out hope for a cease-fire agreement, pushing Israel and Hamas toward a phased deal that would halt fighting and free about 120 hostages held by the militant group in Gaza.

The prospects a deal could improve as Israeli leaders signal their operation underway in Rafah is close to finished. However, fears of potential escalation resurfaced on Thursday after Israel’s far-right national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, visited Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site on Thursday to pray for the return of Israeli hostages, he said, “without a reckless deal, without surrendering.”

Local police in Tel Aviv said that the Friday blast sounded at around 3:10 a.m., reverberating to nearby cities and physically injuring at least 10 people. Tel Aviv District Commander Peretz Amar said officers could not locate the point of contact, suggesting the explosion occurred in the air.

“The force of the explosion caused damage that is not great but is spread over a large area. At the moment we don’t know what the object was,” Amar said.

Israel possesses a multilayered aerial defense system, capable of intercepting threats ranging from long-range ballistic missiles to drones and short-range missiles. These systems have intercepted thousands of projectiles throughout the war. But officials warn they are not 100% effective, and the systems appear to have struggled against small and hard-to-detect attack drones. It was not known which, if any, system was deployed.

Like Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis are backed by Israel’s arch enemy, Iran. Israel for the most part also has avoided a direct confrontation with Iran throughout the war. Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel during a single incident in April in response to Israel’s alleged assassination of a pair of Iranian generals in Syria at the time.

The war in Gaza, which was sparked by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, has killed more than 38,600 people, according to the territory’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count. The war has created a humanitarian catastrophe in the coastal Palestinian territory, displaced most of its 2.3 million population and triggered widespread hunger.

Hamas’ October attack killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and militants took about 250 hostage. About 120 remain in captivity, with about a third of them believed to be dead, according to Israeli authorities.

__

Metz reported from Rabat, Morocco.

Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

A man films the scene after a deadly explosion, from his rooftop in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

A man films the scene after a deadly explosion, from his rooftop in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Israelis gather at the scene of a deadly explosion in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Israelis gather at the scene of a deadly explosion in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

A runner stops to speak with Israeli police investigating the scene of a deadly explosion in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 19, 2024.(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

A runner stops to speak with Israeli police investigating the scene of a deadly explosion in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 19, 2024.(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

People watch from their balcony as Israeli police investigate the scene of a deadly explosion in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 19, 2024.(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

People watch from their balcony as Israeli police investigate the scene of a deadly explosion in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 19, 2024.(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

A man eats breakfast in a cafe near the scene of a deadly explosion in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 19, 2024.(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

A man eats breakfast in a cafe near the scene of a deadly explosion in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 19, 2024.(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

A man films the scene of a deadly explosion, from his rooftop in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

A man films the scene of a deadly explosion, from his rooftop in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Israeli police investigate the scene of a deadly explosion in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Israeli police investigate the scene of a deadly explosion in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Caution tape surrounds debris at the scene of a deadly explosion in Tel Aviv, Israel, early Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Erik Marmor)

Caution tape surrounds debris at the scene of a deadly explosion in Tel Aviv, Israel, early Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Erik Marmor)

Israeli police and first responders gather at the scene of a deadly explosion in Tel Aviv, Israel, early Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Erik Marmor)

Israeli police and first responders gather at the scene of a deadly explosion in Tel Aviv, Israel, early Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Erik Marmor)

People gather at the scene of an deadly explosion in Tel Aviv, Israel, early Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Erik Marmor)

People gather at the scene of an deadly explosion in Tel Aviv, Israel, early Friday, July 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Erik Marmor)

Recommended Articles