Endorses Eyes on the Board Act as “the right policy at the right time”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In case you missed it, the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board yesterday voiced its support for U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) recently introduced legislation to curb social media use in elementary and secondary schools. In the editorial, the Dallas Morning News endorsed Sen. Cruz’s Eyes on the Board Act as “the right policy at the right time,” highlighting the growing evidence linking social media use and screen addiction with declining mental health in teens.
Last week, Sens. Cruz, Ted Budd (R-N.C.), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) introduced the Eyes on the Board Act to limit children’s access to social media at school by requiring schools receiving federal broadband funding to prohibit access on subsidized services, devices, and networks. The senators’ new legislation comes as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted last week to expand the E-Rate program to fund Wi-Fi on school buses. The proposed expansion of funding is not only unlawful (the Commission has no authority to extend support to school buses without congressional direction) but would make the federal government complicit in enabling unsupervised access to distracting and addictive social media apps like TikTok and Instagram on kids’ bus rides to and from school.
Read the full editorial HERE or below.
Ted Cruz bill to block social media is good policy
Many groups are waking up to the dangers lurking behind screens.
By Dallas Morning News Editorial
2:00 AM on Oct 22, 2023 CDT
Last week, Sen. Ted Cruz launched an effort to limit social media use in many American public schools. This is good policy, coming at a time when our whole nation needs to be waking up to the dangers lurking behind our ubiquitous screens.
Cruz, along with Sens. Ted Budd, R-N.C., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., sponsored The Eyes on the Board Act, which would require that schools block access to social media platforms in order to qualify for federal funding for broadband access under programs called E-Rate and the Emergency Connectivity Fund. It would also require E-Rate recipients to set rules limiting how much screen time students are assigned as part of their schoolwork.
A growing body of evidence has connected screen time, particularly social media use, to all manner of societal problems, including declining mental health in teens. As researcher Jonathan Haidt testified before the Senate last year, “something changed in the lives of American teens around 2010.” That’s when we saw an explosion of the number of teens with smartphones, most loaded with social media apps. It was also the beginning of a spike in mood disorders and self-harm that has continued apace.
Cruz and his co-sponsors aren’t the only ones concerned about these trends. As our contributing columnist Abby McCloskey reported last month, many diverse constituencies — particularly parents — are sounding the alarm about social media and screen addiction. Texas is among a handful of red states that have set minimum age limits for opening a social media account. And President Joe Biden said in his State of the Union address this February, “We must finally hold social media companies accountable for the experiment they are running on our children for profit.”
More important, schools, including Dallas ISD, are already making similar efforts. They block sites, sequester phones or lock down school-issued computers. Visit many high school or middle school classrooms these days and you’re likely to see a wall-mounted rack of pockets where students have to deposit their phones during class.
And every responsible school district already restricts access to obviously harmful content like violence and pornography. Limits on social media can be seen as an extension of that idea.
This legislation is not about choosing social media winners and losers. The bill’s definitions are broad enough to apply to both Instagram and Parler. It’s just the right policy at the right time.