Should cell phones have age limits? According to the Denver Post, there should be.
Colorado officials have proposed a ballot that would help establish the nation’s first legal limits on buying smartphones for children under 13 years of age. This is brought about when an anesthesiologist from the Denver area, Tim Farnum had limited the screen time of his 11- and 13-year-old children. He stated “If you tell them to watch the screen time, all of a sudden the fangs come out.” So, should cell phones have age limits? For that fact, should all technology have limits?
In February, with a few other medical professionals, he formed a nonprofit PAUS (Parents Against Underage Smartphones) to begin creating a ballot initiative which, if passed, would make Colorado the first state in the nation to create legal limits on smartphones sales to children.
Farnum states that he understands the concerns from parents that believe that it should be the responsibility of the parent. He states “his group sees premature smartphone access as a danger equivalent to smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or watching pornography. We have age restrictions on all those things because they’re harmful to kids. This is no different, in my opinion.”
There are some distinguishing statements in the proposal to define what devices are being included. There are many parents that wish to have a cell phone for their kids to be able to contact them for safety reasons. The proposal distinguishes smartphones from other cellular devices like standard flip phones that cannot access the Internet for this reason.
Farnum’s goal is to help alleviate younger generations from becoming attached to apps and the smart phone, because of educational purposes. There are studies that prove the dangers of excessive technology use and how many parents are not even aware of it. This over usage can create permanent damage to a child.
Let’s face it, technology is everywhere, and is being promoted to younger generations every day. A prime example is my kids’ schools. They have iPads, tablets, and laptops that they are exposed to at an earlier age every year. This proves to be a struggle for me as a parent to manage control over what they are exposed to. Also, when 85%+ of their homework is online, it does not make it any easier to keep them from screen time. This is also one of the same issues that Farnum is experiencing.
This is where I am torn in the proposal. As a parent, I really like to have homework online as it makes organization and communication easier, but at the same time, I cannot stand the issue with trying to manage my kids online to actually do their homework and not jump back and forth between games and homework. Now, before you judge me and say something like “Just work with them and watch them,” you need to know that I have five kids of which three use the computer for homework. It is physically impossible to watch and manage all three kids at the same time while trying to manage the younger ones and keep up on the daily housework like making dinner.
The ban would require cellphone retailers to ask customers about the age of the primary user of a smartphone and submit monthly reports to the Colorado Department of Revenue on adhering to the requirement. Retailers who sell a phone for use by a youngster could be fined $500, after a warning.
Should Cell Phones Have Age Limits?
This is a concern all parents should have. We wrote an article about this same issue a while back which you can find on our site called “How much time should kids spend on the phone?”
Farnum, for now, no longer allows his sons to have smartphones. His kids have spent a good majority of their second semester at school almost without any technology. He stated that he can notice a big difference. His kids laugh and play and have a desire to be outside.
What are your thoughts? Should cell phones have age limits?