Dalhousie University professor wants government to ban cellphones in N.S. schools

By CityNews Halifax Staff

A professor in Dalhousie University’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience is calling on the province to ban cell phones in classrooms.

The call follows similar moves in several other provinces, including B.C., Ontario, Quebec and most recently New Brunswick.

Last week, a new policy was updated in New Brunswick that states students will be subject to disciplinary action if they use cell phones to disrupt learning environments.

Dr. Simon Sherry, a Dalhousie University professor and a clinical psychologist at Crux Psychology says Nova Scotia needs to follow similar action, as cellphones prove to be a distraction as well as a negative impact on teens’ mental health.

“That would include depression, anxiety, loneliness, body image problems, eating disorders,” Dr. Simon Sherry tells CityNews Halifax. “And the list goes on.”

Dr. Sherry says cell phones are also intruding into teens’ sleep and socialization in what he calls a form of “digital displacement.”

In a release, Dr. Sherry says teens are also especially vulnerable to the harms of social media and smartphones because the decision-making and reward centers of their brains are not yet fully developed.

He adds he’s not aware of any legislation in progress in Nova Scotia, but the province’s Education Minister did say earlier this month that new policy is being drawn up and that it is expected to be announced before September.

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