Group in Colorado wants to prevent kids under 13 from owning a purchased cellphone
Children under 13 would not be allowed to be the recipient of a purchased cellphone in Colorado under a proposed ballot measure backed by a group called Parents Against Underage Smartphones. To make the 2018 ballot, the group will need to get 300,000 voter signatures. Dr. Tim Farnum, an anesthesiologist in Denver, is leading the group. He says that he saw his own kids having to deal with the effects of always needing to have a device held in their hands. The Doctor said that his kids would take their mobile devices, lock themselves in their rooms, and it ended up changing their personalities. When the Doctor realized that his 12-year old son was getting negatively affected, he took the phone away from him.
Under the proposal, retailers would have to ask customers about the age of the primary user of a handset being purchased, and submit reports each month to the Colorado Department of Revenue. The first violation by a retailer would result in a warning. A second violation would result in a fine between $500 and $20,000.
Complaints are popping up from people who don't think that this is an issue for the government to decide. On Facebook, a post from Cyndy Bowman Odenwald said, "If they are not your kids, how is it your business to decide whether or not they are responsible/mature enough to have a cellphone?"
The American Academy of Pediatrics last year said that kids under 6 should not spend more than one-hour a day in front of a screen. After age 6, the Academy suggests that parents set consistent time limits for screen use as long as it doesn't interfere with sleeping and physical activity.