In Colorado, a cellphone ban could be placed on all children under 13 if one state medical professional is successful on getting his proposed ballot initiative passed.
Tim Farnum, a Denver-area anesthesiologist, wants to ban the sale of smartphones to children younger than 13 with his proposal, or to parents who intend to give the smartphone to kids in that age bracket, the Fort Collins Coloradoan reported.
The proposal would require retailers to submit reports to the state government verifying that they had inquired about who each sold smartphone was intended to be used by, and fine those that repeatedly sell phones to be used by young children and preteens, the newspaper noted.
"Eventually kids are going to get phones and join the world, and I think we all know that, but little children, there's just no good that comes from that," Farnum told the Coloradoan.
Farnum started Parents Against Underage Smartphones, or PAUS, the nonprofit group pushing the proposal. He told the newspaper that he came up with the idea watching his own children struggle with the psychological effects of always having device in hand.
"There were some real problems," Farnum, 49, who is a father of five, told The Washington Post. "If you tell them to watch the screen time, all of a sudden the fangs come out."
Democratic Colorado State Sen. John Kefalas told the Coloradoan while he gets where Farnum is coming from, he believes a new law simply makes the state responsible for parenting.
"Frankly, I think it should remain a family matter," Kefalas told the Coloradoan. "I know there have been different proposals out there regarding the internet and putting filters on websites that might put kids at risk. I think ultimately, this comes down to parents ... making sure their kids are not putting themselves at risk."
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.
"We have age restrictions on all those things because they're harmful to kids," Farnum said to the Post. "This is no different, in my opinion."
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