Optometrists from around the country have also sent support to the General Assembly urging passage of this legislation, including J. Scott Sikes, O.D., a NC Optometric Society Education Trustee and Dr. Geoffrey Goodfellow, OD, FAAO, an Associate Professor at the Illinois College of Optometry and an attending optometrist in the Pediatrics/Binocular Vision Service of the Illinois Eye Institute.
“Protecting eyesight when it comes to the progressive use of digital technology and screen time addiction in young people is our number one priority” said Justin Barrett,CEO of Healthe, a company that creates products "to reduce exposure to harmful digital UV and High-Energy Visible (HEV) blue light emitted from such devices." "We hope the lawmakers will pass this important legislation to set a precedent for other states in the protection of all students."
Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) is a national advocacy organization with nearly 50,000 members, including 1,000 in Maryland. The group has asked Maryland lawmakers to give HB866 their "complete endorsement." In a letter to the Ways and Means Committee, CCFC Executive Director, Josh Golin, writes, "It is critical that medical professionals develop clear, research-based, age-appropriate guidelines for the use of digital devices in schools."
Citing its 30-page research document released in August, Parents Across America (PAA) is another national advocacy group endorsing HB866/SB1089. PAA notes that it "has prepared extensive materials about the harmful effects on children's academic, intellectual, emotional, physical and social development when digital devices are misused and overused… We applaud the Maryland lawmakers who have responded quickly and appropriately to this critical situation."
Janis Sartucci, a member of the Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, said, "This bill is long overdue. Our children need to be protected from a variety of health risks that could affect them for a lifetime. We must get DHMH involved to be sure kids aren't hurt."
Ms. Eckard also notedthat teachers have a legal duty of care to protect students from known hazards in the classroom. "This bill will help teachers too, giving them statewide, uniform safety guidelines, from medical professionals and specialists at DHMH."