Tim Farnum, Denver-area dad of five and anesthesiologist, is pushing for a new ballot measure in Colorado to stop the sale of smartphones to children younger than 13, or realistically, to parents who buy smartphones intended for their kids. The retailers who sell phones intended for children younger than 13 could face a fine of $500 after warning. The adverse effects are also known as "electronic cocaine" and "digital heroin" because it can trigger an unhealthy high, similar to that of drug addicts.
Parents Against Underage Smartphones is now collecting signatures in an effort to get a measure on the 2018 ballot.
The proposal would require retailers to submit reports to the state government verifying that they had inquired about who each sold smartphone was meant to be used by, and fine those that repeatedly sell phones to be used by young children and preteens, the newspaper noted.
Democratic state Sen. John Kefalas believes it's the role of family, not the government, to monitor kids' use of technology.
"The kids aren't playing out there anymore", Farnum told CBS Denver. "I know there have been different proposals out there regarding the internet and putting filters on websites that might put kids at risk".
"It seems to me like it needs to be more of a cultural conversation that's more nuanced than that", Suzanne Null, an associate professor at Fort Lewis College, told the Herald.
Farnum told The Washington Post that he expected pushback like Kefalas, but he sees the danger of early smartphone use akin to smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or watching pornography.
Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they're seeing.
Be Civil - It's OK to have a difference in opinion but there's no need to be a jerk. Colorado does not accept digital petition signatures, so Farnum and his group will have to collect support the old-fashioned way.
Farnum's proposal is still a long ways off from becoming reality. "I think ultimately, this comes down to parents. making sure their kids are not putting themselves at risk".
For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.