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BC says goodbye to phones in school

Last month, the Premier of British Columbia, David Eby, announced that schools must implement restrictions on cellphones. It would be up to local districts to decide how these restrictions would be enforced, but Eby stated that the expectation is to remove phones from the classroom. One exception would be cases where students with disabilities require them as part of an accommodation.

Additionally, the government plans to launch two new services, one to help people remove explicit images of themselves from the internet, and the other to help victims pursue online predators for damages. Legislation is also planned to hold social media companies accountable for online harms. This means that the government could take legal action against major companies like Facebook for harms to individuals they may have had a role in.

These changes come in the wake of the tragic suicide of Carson Cleland, a 12-year-old BC boy who fell victim to a sextortion scheme in October 2023. Sextortion is when an online predator tricks someone into sending nude images of themselves. Then the predator usually asks for money or for more explicit images. If the victim won’t comply then the predator will threaten to share these images with the victim’s friends or family.

Parents must remain their children’s first line of protection, but the pervasiveness of social media, and its negative impact on children, has gotten to the point where even proponents for smaller government, like Christian commentator John Stonestreet, are calling on the State to enact legislation to address these issues.

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The smartphone stack

You're out with some friends having a nice dinner. But one has been talking on his phone for the last ten minutes, and a second is managing to fork food into her mouth while still using both hands to type text messages. And the fourth member of your party is preoccupied with tracking down some YouTube video he just has to show everyone. So you're out with your friends for dinner but it seems an awful lot like eating alone. We've all experienced something similar... and put our friends through something similar. So how can we return a little decorum to our dinners-out? One suggestion making the rounds is something called "The Phone Stack." After everyone orders their meals all smartphones are placed in the center of the table, one on top of another, face down. Though the course of the meal it's simply a given that one of these, or all, are going to buzz, bing, or sing, but here's the kicker: no one is allowed to grab their phone until dinner and dessert is done. If someone feels they just have to pick up their phone, that's okay, but then they also have to pick up the check for the night! Can there be exceptions made? Maybe someone is a doctor on call, or a volunteer member of the local fire department, and just needs to check their messages. Yup, allowances for that kind of thing can be made. But for the rest of the group this is a fun way of ensuring we all connect with one another, rather than with our devices. And for those dining-in nights, a variation can be done involving who is going to do the dishes!...