Health Care

Colorado Considers Ban On Preteens Owning Cell Phones

Colorado Considers Ban On Preteens Owning Cell Phones”

In a first, a group in the USA state of Colorado has sought a ban on the sale of smartphones for children younger than 13 years to prevent them from getting addicted to the device.

The proposal needs 300,000 signatures before it can be placed on the ballot in November 2018.

A Denver doctor's ballot initiative that would impose age restrictions on the sale of smartphones to and for pre-teens is drawing mixed opinions from southern Colorado parents, children, and lawmakers. Retailers would have to ask who the phone is going to and file a report about it. Those who do sell a smartphone for use by kids could be fined $500 after a warning.

The full proposal can be read here.

Assuming PAUS can get the necessary 100,000 signatures to proceed, this proposal will appear on the ballot late next year.

"I think it's excellent", said Rebecca Schaad, a Colorado Springs-area mother of three children, ages 17, 14, and 7.

The group Farnum founded is called Parents Against Underage Smartphones, which should be named Parents Against Underage Smartphone Users.

"I always say to people, when you're giving your kid a tablet or a phone, you're really giving them a bottle of wine or a gram of coke", Mandy Saligari, a Harley Street rehab clinic specialist, was quoted as saying by The Independent. Under the proposed law, monthly reports would have to be submitted by retailers to the Colorado Department of Revenue to make sure the ban is being adhered to.

At home, Farnum's two young sons no longer have smartphones - at least for now.

Democratic state Sen. John Kefalas believes it's the role of family, not the government, to monitor kids' use of technology. "I think parents need to make those decisions", said Elizabeth Mulock, mother of three.

Last fall, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidelines for children's media use, including smartphones.

For children younger than 18 months: Avoid screen time, except video chatting. A top addiction therapist in Britain recently said that giving children smartphones is akin to "giving them a gram of cocaine". Those 6 and older should have consistent limits on the time spent using media, while making sure it does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.

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