June 19, 2017
Colorado Contemplating Banning Underage Smartphone Use: Here's Why

Colorado state authorities may potentially bring into effect a bill which will ban smartphone sales to children below the age of 13.

The bill, dubbed Initiative 29, is currently at the grass root level. Currently, a group called the Parents Against Underage Smartphones (PAUS) is gathering signatures to put the bill to vote in 2018. Colorado officials reveal that PAUS still needs 300,000 more signatures to put the bill to ballot.

What Happens If The Bill Is Approved?

If the bill gets the green signal and Initiative 29 comes into effect, smartphone retailers would need to specifically ask a customer if the device being purchased is intended for a child under the age of 13.

"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 notes.

It further states that any retailer found selling smartphones to underage children or preteens will get a warning for the first violation. However, if this occurs again, the retailer may be fined anywhere between $500 and $20,000.

PAUS members believe that once a child acquires a smartphone they lose all interest in outdoor activities and also seem to lose all their positive energy. Several studies have hinted at the potential harmful effects of children using smartphones. Owing to the adverse impact of smartphone usage and the resulting psychological impacts, PAUS advocates the smartphone sale ban to underage children.

Preteens using smartphones. [Image by dolgachov/iStockphoto]

Adverse Effects of Smartphone Usage On Children

A study performed recently revealed that roughly 56 percent of kids between 10 and 13 owned a smartphone. The same study also shockingly revealed that around 25 percent children aged 2 to 5 also owned a mobile device. Research conducted all over the globe illustrate the psychological and developmental impediments children now face due to excessive smartphone usage.

Scientists noticed that children and parents were more focused on their device screens rather than bonding with each other and forging a strong relationship. This interaction is vital for a kid's healthy development as through these exchanges, a child is able to learn valuable life lessons and characteristics.

Excessive smartphone usage may have adverse effects on children. [Image by gpointstudio/iStockphoto]

Outdoor activities such as playing in the yard or going out for a bike ride also get severely limited with the introduction of a smartphone. These activities are important for building character, as well as the general well-being.

Moreover, smartphones emit radio frequencies, which can be damaging to the child's health. Research reveals that radio frequencies adversely affect the temporal and frontal parts of the developing brain in children. These brain parts are instrumental in advanced cognitive functions.

Additionally, internet access on smartphones has also given rise to excessive use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and more. Children using these services may develop an expertise in creating online friendships but at the cost of real social interactions and people skills.

However, no concrete evidence exists that smartphone usage is adversely affecting children. Colorado may be looking to take harsh steps to control preteen smartphone usage, but it remains to be seen if PAUS can collect the 300,000 signatures required to put it to vote in 2018.

[Featured Image by praetorianphoto/iStockphoto]