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Regulations for students’ computer use proposed in General Assembly

kids child computerA bill that would require the Maryland Department of Education to develop “computer health and safety guidelines” will have a hearing in the Senate on Wednesday.

Cindy Eckard of Queen Anne’s County has kids in the public schools and she has been advocating for a law that would regulate students’ use of computer screens. She wrote in a Baltimore Sun op-ed:

“Perform an online search for the phrase “Computer Vision Syndrome” or “digital eye strain” and you will learn how well documented the dangers of screens are: nearsightedness, blurry vision, dry eyes, headaches and neck and shoulder pain. And the way children use screens makes them particularly vulnerable to complications: They stare at them for long periods without taking significant breaks; computer work stations often don’t fit them well; and they don’t complain about blurry vision because they don’t realize it’s a problem that will just get worse.”

Senate bill 1150, sponsored by Sen. Stephen S. Hershey Jr., would require safety guidelines for computer use in schools.

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“If this legislation doesn’t pass during this session, our children will suffer the consequences. Some experts suggest that the damage to their eyes is cumulative, so time is of the essence,” Eckard said in an interview.

“Lawmakers also need to be informed that the largest study ever done on childhood myopia points to daily computer use as one of the major causes – another reason why this bill is so important,” she said.

The proposed law, which is cross referenced with House Bill 1524, has a hearing at 1 PM on March 16.

The Towson area is represented by Jim Brochin in the Senate and Steve Lafferty, Susan Aumann, and Chris West in the House. To find other state lawmakers by doing a search of your home address, click here.

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