Are New Jersey kids obsessed with smartphones?

Are New Jersey kids obsessed with smartphones?

If your son or daughter is like most types in New Jersey, they are always on their cell phones, texting, playing games and doodling on social media.

State legislators may soon order an in-depth study to determine what kind of effect this is having on students’ physiological, emotional, and intellectual growth and development.

Legislation S715 sponsored by Senator Dick Cody, D.Essex, would establish a panel on the effects of smartphone and social media use on teens.

Cell phones make kids nervous?

Cody said this needs to be studied and regulations may need to be implemented because it became clear “the more you use the phone as a teenager the quality of your sleep goes down, your anxiety levels go up, you get depressed, it’s not a good look at us say.”

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Cody notes that a study by the American Medical Association found a number of harmful effects on children who use digital devices, so the issue needs closer examination.

Should a cell phone be banned in class? We have to research very well and see if this is the way to go. I will vote yes.”

The legislation would require a 15-member committee to determine:

• Extent of smartphone and social media use in public schools, including the average time students of different age groups spend each day in school on electronic devices

• Effects of use on students’ emotional health, including incidents of harassment, intimidation, bullying, or other disruptive or violent behavior

The effects of this on the students’ academic performance

• Effects on students’ physical health, including depression, sleep deprivation, weight loss or gain, or high blood pressure.

Girl and boy watching video or playing games on their smartphones.

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Conversational problem

Cody said that many kids who are on their phones all the time don’t seem to be able to communicate well.

“It’s hard to have long conversations, and thought-provoking conversations too, it’s really fast.”

He said cell phones are a serious distraction risk for teens while driving.

Cody said many students are allowed to use their smartphones at school during exams and other classroom situations.

“Call me old-fashioned,” he said, “but if I’m doing something like that during class, the lights will be off when I get home, or worse.”

The bill, which has been passed by the Senate and is under consideration in the House, directs the Committee to issue a final report with its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature not later than one year after its regulatory meeting. The commission expires 30 days after the final report is submitted

David Mathew He is a reporter for NJ 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

Click here to contact the editor about comments or corrections to this story.

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