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Student health and safety guidelines for digital devices under consideration

By: - April 5, 2022 6:52 pm

Students are using their laptops to do schoolwork. (Getty Images)

Louisiana could soon send out guidelines on safe digital device use in classrooms out of concern for the effects smartphones and laptops have on students.

House Bill 548, authored by Rep. Aimee Freeman, D-New Orleans, would have the state education department create the guidelines in consultation with health experts, teachers, school administrators and parents. Medical practitioners who will help steer the recommendations include specialists in ophthalmology, optometry, childhood obesity, heart disease and sleep.

The House of Representatives approved Freeman’s bill unanimously Tuesday.

“We’re seeing more and more young people in a position where they’re getting eye problems too early in their lives,” Freeman said when she presented her bill to committee last month, “and it’s very, very worrisome to the future of our kids.”

If the Senate approves, the guidelines would address, among other matters, “digital device use for different age ranges and developmental levels and the amount of time spent on school-issued digital devices in the classroom and at home. 

Experts are also expected to weigh in on how often students should take a break from digital devices, how they are physically positioned in the classroom and training for teachers on these issues.

The guidelines would also be peer-reviewed and independently studied, according to the bill, and the education department would have to review them every year.

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JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is an award-winning journalist at The Louisiana Illuminator. Canicosa has previous experience at Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.

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