‘Let’s Just Protect Middle School’: Guest Tells Bill Maher Schools Should Ban Cellphones, Social Media During Class

‘Let’s Just Protect Middle School’: Guest Tells Bill Maher Schools Should Ban Cellphones, Social Media During Class

A guest on Bill Maher’s HBO show “Real Time” believes that schools should be taking drastic action when it comes to students with cellphones and access to social media during classroom hours.

“What we need to do as a starting move – this is something we all can do – is get the phones and social media the hell out of middle school,” New York University professor Jonathan Haidt told the host. “Let’s just protect middle school, OK?”

The Daily Caller reported that the professor went on to suggest that students ought to be required to keep their phones in their lockers or a Yonder pouch and not be allowed to have access to them for the entire school day. Haidt compared teens being able to access their phones to heroin addicts being given everything they need to “shoot up.”

He also suggested that more parents discuss bans with school officials.

“Talk to the principal … and say, ‘Can you help us?’” Haidt said, adding that he’s been told that teachers and administrators do not like students having phones in their classrooms.

The professor’s remarks came after CNN host Laura Coates discussed how she refused to allow her elementary-age children to have smartphones, which Haidt prased.

“Don’t your kids complain to you that the other kids have this and we don’t?” asked Maher.

Coates responded with a laugh,” For me, no,” noting further that she tells her children that the prohibition can be “added to the bill for their therapy in 20 years.”


According to a National Institute of Health study published in 2018, 9 and 10-year-old kids who began staring at smartphone screens for two hours a day or more had a thinning of their cerebral cortex and also scored lower when they were tested on language and critical thinking. The cortex is the outer part of the brain that processes information from taste, sight, touch, smell and hearing.

“We don’t know if it’s being caused by the screen time,” Dr. Gaya Dowling of the NIH said, “60 Minutes” reported at the time. “We don’t know yet if it’s a bad thing.”

“Scientists will follow more than 11,000 kids for 10 years in the study costing $300 million. Brain scans and interviews with children ages nine and 10 have already begun at 21 places around the U.S.,” the Daily Caller reported then, citing the 60 Minutes program.

“An August [2018]  Pew Research Center study found 56 percent of teens felt lonely, sadness or anxiety when they did not have their phones on them. Over 70 percent also said they check their messages as soon as they wake up in the morning,” the report added.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson called on Congress to raise the age to use smartphones to 18 in 2019.

“It’s not surprising, then, rates of mental illness and suicide among teens began to surge right around 2012. That’s just as smartphones and social media became universal. You probably didn’t need a study to know all of this. If you are a parent, it’s obvious. Smartphone use makes your kids sadder, slower and more isolated and, over time, can kill them,” Carlson said then.


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