Gavin Newsom Following DeSantis’s Lead

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[Photo Credit: By U.S. Space Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan Quijas, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=124246869]

In May 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was slammed after he vowed to limit social media in the classroom: “Saying that social media does ‘more harm than good,’ Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed education changes that include prohibiting students from using cell phones during class time and curtailing use of the social-media platform TikTok on school grounds.”

Now, like most things the Florida governor leads on, some of his harshest critics have adopted his former “controversial stance.”

The Associated Press writes that 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.

In March, DeSantis signed a measure into law Monday that limits social media access for users younger than 16.

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