Forming PAUS in February along with other medical professionals, the group wrote the ballot initiative no. 29 which if passed would make Colorado the first state to make legal limits on smartphones sales to children.
"Initiative 29 prohibits retailers from selling or permitting the sale of a smartphone to a person under the age of 13, or to any person who indicates that the smartphone will be wholly or partially owned by a person under the age of 13", the proposal states.
Tim Farnum - an anesthesiologist who spearheads the group Parents Against Underage Smartphones - proposed the legislation after he noticed his children growing moody and withdrawn. The ban would require retailers to ask customers the age of the primary user of the smartphone and submit monthly adherence reports to the Colorado Department of Revenue.
Any retailers that ignore the ban would get a warning for the first offense, but subsequent violations could result in fines ranging from $500 to $20,000.
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But the father of five is not convinced these devices are beneficial for children, a conclusion he came to after his two youngest sons, ages 11 and 13, got smartphones a year ago.
Farnum was motivated to begin this campaign after he saw his kids struggling with smartphone use.
Farnum gets that smartphones offer a lot of convenience, but he thinks the devices do more harm than good for children.
"You have cognitive damage, social damage, speech and language problems, attention-deficit disorder - and all these things have accelerated in the last ten years, since smartphones". I know there have been different proposals out there regarding the internet and putting filters on websites that might put kids at risk. The campaign aims to stop young kids from spending too much time on these devices.
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According to the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids below the age of six should have a one-hour time-limit to use a smartphone.
So Farnum started researching the side effects of screen time on kids and found statistics that astonished him. "I think ultimately, this comes down to parents. making sure their kids are not putting themselves at risk", Colorado Sen.
For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video chatting.
Have "media-free" times with your kids and "media-free" spots in the house like bedrooms.
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