Newsom calls for legislation to limit phones in schools

Newsom echoed a call from Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who warned against the dangers of social media use for children.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom would like to limit smartphones in schools. 

Newsom issued a statement Tuesday citing an op-ed by U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy calling on Congress to require social media platforms to issue tobacco-style warnings. 


Flashback: Murthy penned an op-ed in the New York Times on Monday saying the mental health crisis among young people is an emergency, pointing the finger at social media. 

  • Murthy cited a study that showed nearly half of adolescents say social media makes them feel worse about their bodies, and that adolescents who spend over three hours a day on social media face double the risk of anxiety and depression. 
  • Along with calling on Congress to take action, Murthy also urged schools to ensure that classroom learning and social time are phone-free experiences. 
  • He also called on parents to limit their children’s phone usage. 

What they’re saying: “As the Surgeon General affirmed, social media is harming the mental health of our youth,” Newsom said in a statement. “Building on legislation I signed in 2019, 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.

Driving the news: While Newsom did not expand on how he plans to limit smartphones in schools, his message came out one day after Los Angeles Unified School District voted to ban phones and social media use. 

  • The district will create a policy to take effect in January, according to a report from NBC. 
  • LA Unified is making this move on the 2019 bill that Newsom signed, which gives school districts the authority to limit or ban smartphone usage with an exception for emergencies and other special circumstances. 
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