Maryland proposes protecting schoolchildren from excessive screen time

Tomorrow, the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee will consider a cutting-edge proposal to protect schoolchildren from the effects of too much screen time.

From the committee’s press release today:

The House Ways and Means Committee of the Maryland General Assembly will hear legislation on Friday, February 24th at 1:00 that directs the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to craft safety guidelines for the use of digital devices in Maryland public schools.

Delegate Steven Arentz (R-District 36) has sponsored the legislation, House Bill 866, “Primary and Secondary Education – Health and Safety Guidelines and Procedures – Digital Devices.” The bill has 25 co-sponsors and broad bi-partisan support. An identical bill has been cross-filed by Senator Steve Hershey (R-District 36), co-sponsored by Senator James Brochin (D-District 42) and Senator Susan Lee (D-District 16). It has been referred to the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

HB866 aims to protect Maryland students from the health hazards that medical experts have for many years associated with daily use of digital devices. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has had regulations governing the use of computers for office workers since the 1990s, but schools have no medical oversight.

“More and more experts are proving that there are serious risks to our kids’ health because they spend every day on a digital device,” Delegate Arentz said. “Maryland students need to get the most out of this technology, so we want medical professionals to lead us in a safe direction.”

PAA is proud of the fact that the press release specifically referenced our work; we had submitted an endorsement letter and shared some of our EdTech materials with the committee.

This will be a good model for other states- let’s share it with our state legislatures!

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Misc

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