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Pictured: Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on Thursday, April 18, 2024 --© NBC

Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb implement bold change on Today - what this means for the hosts

Savannah and Hoda encouraged their co-stars to put away their phones during the show

Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
June 18, 2024
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Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb introduced a major change in the Today studio on Tuesday. 

Inspired by their interview with Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy, who called for a warning label on social media platforms during Monday's show, the hosts announced their decision to put their cell phones in a basket for the entire duration of the program and encouraged their co-stars to implement this rule every day. Watch the moment in the video below. 

WATCH: Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb impliment bold change on Today

"Now take a look at that," said Savannah as the camera filmed a wicker basket full of smartphones. "That is a basket of our cell phones. We decided to toss them in that basket for the whole show this morning. We were talking about our conversation with the Surgeon General, who wants a warning label on social media," explained the journalist. 

"Every parent knows their kids are dying for the smartphones and every parent knows we're as addicted as anyone else," she continued. 

Savannah and Hoda have been co-hosting Today together since 2017© NBC
Savannah and Hoda encouraged their co-stars to put their phones away for Tuesday's show

Expressing her approval of the new rule, Hoda added: "We've had 30 minutes so far. Usually in commercial breaks, we're taking care of our kids' logistics but we're feeling good."

Chiming in, weather forecaster Al Roker joked: "Can I have the phone back?"

After Craig Melvin suggested that the hosts should put their phones away more often, Savannah said: "I think we should do it every day," to which Hoda agreed. 

Craig Melvin, Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker on Today© NBC
All hosts implemented the new rule

Later on in the show, Craig caught his co-star Carson Daly scrolling on his phone backstage. "You cheater!" he exclaimed, before confiscating the phone. 

"Do you want Popstart today people?" asked Carson. "How am I supposed to study my notes?"

Savannah joked: "There's going to be a write-up in the file for Mr Daly."

Savannah Guthrie on the Today Show© NBC
Savannah and Hoda have previously spoken about the relationship between children and their smartphones

Hoda and Savannah's new rule comes after Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy called on Congress to implement tobacco-style warning labels on social media platforms due to their association with significant mental harm for young people. 

"When adolescents spend more than three hours a day on social media, we're seeing an association with a doubling of risk of anxiety and depression symptoms," said Dr Murthy. 

The relationship between children and their smartphones is a topic Savannah has been vocal about in recent months. During an hour-long Today special about the possible impact of young people's dependence on smartphones and screens in October, Savannah confessed that her two children, Vale, nine, and Charles, seven, were already "begging" for a smartphone.

Savannah Guthrie in sunglasses smiling with her daughter Vale© Savannah Guthrie on Instagram
Savannah with her daughter Vale

"They're only six and nine, they’re begging me for a phone already," she said. The 52-year-old explained that she has spoken to friends with older children who had faced similar challenges. "They say 'We gave in. We gave them the phone and now my whole relationship my kid has transformed. It's only about that phone and their access to that phone.'"

"It doesn't feel like a fair fight and parents need help too," she added.

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