Technology is inextricably linked to our day-to-day lives. You probably can’t go a day without seeing someone walking down the street with their eyes glued to their phone or preferring to order online rather than at the counter. In my opinions, I’ve noticed that physical social interaction is at an all time low because of technological convenience.
I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a step down since the rise of smartphones have made the world more accessible at our fingertips, but I’ll admit that certain lines should be drawn. One man in particular is set on proposing a smartphone ban.
Meet Tim Farnum, an anesthesiologist hailing from Denver, Colorado. Most recently, he’s joined forces with the Parents Against Underage Smartphones (PAUS), a nonprofit organization hoping to draft a bill that would make it illegal to sell smartphones to kids 13 and under.
Why such a specific age range? Farnum’s decision to propose the bill came after he noticed something was changing in his 11 and 13-year-old sons. According to Farnum, his youngest boys used to be very energetic and outgoing. They were at an age where children often played outside and came back with scraped knees and muddy clothes, after all. However, Farnum reported that they became moody and antisocial after receiving phones of their own.
According to DailyMail, after Farnum tried taking one of their devices away “…one of his sons then launched into a temper tantrum that was the equivalent to that of a crack addict.”
The anesthesiologist later conducted his own research on the effects of technology on young minds. Too much of it resulted in hindered brain development, social skills and encouraged “an unhealthy dependence on the neurotransmitter dopamine.”
After PAUS was officially formed in February, the group began efforts on becoming the first state to make legal limitations on smartphone sales to minors. If passed, the ban would require retailers to ask the age of the primary phone user. Not only that, but the Colorado Department of Revenue would also need monthly adherence reports. Make no mistake. Violation of the bill could result in a $500 if passed.
Sounds pretty serious for a something meant to help kids limit smartphone use. Many parents made a show of their support, however some were also skeptical about everything the bill implied.
“Frankly, I think it should remain a family matter,” Colorado state Senator John 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.”
While I agree that smartphone technology has resulted in some behavioral issues, I don’t think it warrants an entire bill. Ultimately it’s the parent’s decision to give their child a smartphone in the first place, and there are factors they can take into consideration to limit misuse without the need for a bill. You can limit their data usage, lock out certain websites, or just get them a normal cellular device. I don’t think I got a smartphone until I was 16.
I’m not saying prolonged smartphone use isn’t detrimental, but parents should be able to take matters into their own hands.