Action Alert: Important bill to protect Maryland students from excessive screen time

Maryland lawmakers are prepared to be the first in the nation to act to protect school children from overuse of screen technologies. Can you contact key lawmakers to voice your support?

House Bill 866/Senate Bill 1089 would require the Maryland department of health to develop and implement health and safety guidelines and procedures for the use of digital devices in public school classrooms. Given the documented health risks for children, it is critical that schools have age-appropriate guidelines for the use of digital devices in schools. 

Below are instructions for emailing Anne Kaiser, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Joan Carter Conway, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs. Be sure to copy the bill’s sponsors, Representative Steven Arentz and Senator Steve Hershey. Please also copy Cindy Eckard, a Maryland parent who is organizing support for the bills.

Approving this measure would be a huge step to protect Maryland kids, and could inspire a movement to institute similar protections around the country. Please help make this happen by contacting your legislators TODAY to convey your support for these bills!

-----------------------------------------------------------

To: anne.kaiser@house.state.md.us, joan.carter.conway@senate.state.md.us
cc: steven.arentz@house.state.md.us, steve.hershey@senate.state.md.us, screensandkids@gmail.com

Subject: Support for HB 866 / SB 1089

Digital technologies, when used in age-appropriate and thoughtful ways, can enhance education. However, the rush to incorporate individual digital devices into classrooms has not been accompanied by a careful consideration of the impact of excessive screen use by children.

Research demonstrates that excessive screen time is linked to a host of negative outcomes for children, including: attention and hyperactivity disorders and social-emotional problems; sleep disturbances and irregular sleep patterns; vision problems, including myopia and dry eye syndrome; and digital addiction.

Given the documented health risks for children, it is critical that medical professionals develop clear, research-based, age-appropriate guidelines for the use of digital devices in schools. Medical oversight will ensure that schools use technology in ways that enhance children’s education without undermining their physical and emotional wellbeing. 

I urge you to ensure safe learning environments for children by passing House Bill 866.

Thank you,

-----------------------------------------------------------

Comments

Lead paint was an "improvement" too. Guidance for screen usage.

Please be a leader in protecting students from the known damage that can occur from excessive screen time in schools.  Public schools have been introducing screens of all types, Promethean Boards, Chromebooks and Smartphones without any guidance on how much these devices should be used each day.  In Montgomery County, Promethean Boards were purchased WITHOUT Board of Education approval which meant that parents and guardians could not weigh in on the use or location of these large screens in classrooms.  WITHOUT any public notice, Promethean Boards were installed in the middle of chalkboards in every single classroom in Montgomery County Public Schools.  Teachers were then prohibited from using their chalkboards for education. 

Now, on top of Promethean Boards, students are being handed Chromebooks, again without any guidance or public review process.  Students are routinely assigned homework that requires online access, thus increasing the amount of screen time that can not be regulated by parents and guardians. 

No generation of children has ever been exposed to this much computer screen time.  This generation is part of a vast, unregulated experiment where the dangers are well known.  How many of these children will suffer eye damage?  How many will lose their sight at an early age? 

Lead paint was a significant improvement to home paint.  Lead was added to paint to speed up drying, increase durability, maintain a fresh appearance, and resist moisture that causes corrosion.  It was a fantastic improvement, with horrendous consequences. 

Don't make another lead paint mistake.  Start protecting our children today with sensible screen usage guidelines.

Janis Sartucci, Potomac, Maryland

HB 866

I would like to support HB 866.  Screen-time both for younger and older developing children is something that should be drastically limited over what it is currently.  Please develop research-based guidelines on this and limit it because it can be very addicting for children and adolescents to have that much exposure to screens.

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.