Colorado could ban smartphone sales to preteens

Remigio Civitarese
Giugno 19, 2017

"Initiative 29 prohibits retailers from selling or permitting the sale of a smartphone to a person under the age of 13, or to any person who indicates that the smartphone will be wholly or partially owned by a person under the age of 13", the proposal states.

The campaign is being led by Denver-area dad Tim Farnum.

Nonprofit group Parents Against Underage Smartphones (PAUS) is gathering signatures to put the bill, dubbed Initiative 29, to vote next year.

Under a proposed law, cell phone retailers would be required to ask the age of the primary cell phone user before the sale, meaning that parents would not be allowed to buy smartphones for their 12-year-old children. Those who do sell a smartphone for use by kids could be fined $500 after a warning. Farnum is a doctor and tells The Coloradoan that smartphones are bad for young brains. "They would get the phone and lock themselves in their room and change who they were", he added.

Farnum gets that smartphones offer a lot of convenience, but he thinks the devices do more harm than good for children.

'I know there have been different proposals out there regarding the Internet and putting filters on websites that might put kids at risk.

Colorado Sen. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, said he understands the reasoning behind the proposed law, but that he thinks it oversteps the government's role into private family life. The campaign aims to stop young kids from spending too much time on these devices.

"Ultimately, this comes down to parents ... making sure their kids are not putting themselves at risk", he said.

Indeed, prolonged cellphone use is not recommended-the American Academy of Pediatrics last fall updated its guidance on media use among children.

So Farnum started researching the side effects of screen time on kids and found statistics that astonished him.

For children 18 to 24 months: High-quality programming (think PBS) is OK, but watch it with your child to help them understand what they're seeing.

For children 6 and older: Have consistent time limits on screen time and make sure that it isn't taking time away from sleep or physical activity.

Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.

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