In today’s world, it’s not unusual to see a child walking around with a smartphone, but what exactly is the best age for kids to get access to them? Above the age of 13, according to Tim Farnum, an anesthesiologist and father of five from Colorado who’s petitioning to have the Centennial State ban smartphone retailers from selling their products to kids under the age of 13.
According to a piece by The Cut, Farnum founded the nonprofit Parents Against Underaged Smartphones (PAUS) in an attempt to ban Colorado cell phone distributors from selling smartphones to children. Farnum’s cause, also known as ballot initiative 29, was born after an ugly dispute with his 11-year-old son over his smartphone usage. With the help of other medical professionals, Farnum’s nonprofit created ballot initiative 29 in an attempt to make Colorado the first state to set a legal limit on the sale of smartphones to children, according to The Cut.
As of June 28, the petition still needed roughly 100,000 signatures to be put on the fall 2018 ballot, but if it were to become law, cellphone retailers would be required to issue monthly reports to the Colorado Department of Revenue, including information about the ages of primary smartphone consumers. According to The Washington Post, failure to comply with these standards would result in a warning for first-time offenders but could also lead to a fine of $500 to $4,000 for repeat offenders.
Though Farnum’s cause has gained support from many parents, others argue that the right to decide what kind of phones are appropriate for children should be up to parents, not the government, an argument that Farnum told CNN he hears but doesn’t agree with. “You know, to most of the people that are saying things like, ‘Well, it’s a parent’s right; how dare the government do this,’ I would like to say, I’m not the government, I’m a parent. And us parents need to decide what is best for our kids. And we can’t do it alone,” said Farnum.
Read more about ballot initiative 29 in The Cut.