New York to Introduce Legislation Banning Smartphones in Schools

schoolkids using smartphones
dolgachov/Getty, file

New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) is reportedly planning to introduce legislation that would ban smartphones in schools.

Gov. Hochul said she will establish the bill later this year and take it up by January 2025, during New York’s next legislative session, according to a report by the Guardian.

The legislation would make it so that schoolchildren can carry basic phones that will allow them to text individuals — such as their parents, in case there is a “mass shooting” — but prohibit them from accessing the internet.

teens holding up their smartphone flashlights

teens holding up their smartphone flashlights ( MANAN VATSYAYANA /Getty)

“Parents are very anxious about mass shootings in school,” Gov. Hochul said. “Parents want the ability to have some form of connection in an emergency situation.”

The New York governor went on to describe smartphones as having “addictive algorithms” that “pull in young people, literally capture them and make them prisoners in a space where they are cut off from human connection, social interaction and normal classroom activity.”

Gov. Hochul is also reportedly working on two other initiatives involving child safety and privacy, the Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (Safe) for Kids Act, and the New York Child Data Protection Act.

The SAFE for Kids Act would require social media platforms to give minors a default chronological feed made up of accounts they chose to follow rather than accounts suggested by an algorithm, as well as require the platforms to give parents more wide-ranging controls.

If the legislation passes, social media companies found to be in violation of this law can face fines of $5,000 per offense, and parents will have the ability to sue for damages.

The New York Child Data Protection Act, meanwhile, seeks to restrict online sites from having the ability to collect children’s personal data, among other initiatives.

From October to March, Big Tech, trade groups, and other companies have reportedly spent more than $800,000 collectively in lobbying against one or both of the bills, according to public disclosure records.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and X at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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