NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – A campaign is underway in Colorado to make it the first state to ban sales of smartphones for children.
A proposed ballot initiative would make it illegal for stores to sell smartphones to kids under 13, or to adults who intend to give the phones to pre-teens.
“They’re always in it and it’s hard to… it’s hard to get them to focus and get their attention,” said mother Melanie Davidson.
That’s why Davidson, a working mom in Denver, restricts the amount of time her two kids spend on their phones.
“It’s up to myself and my husband to help make sure to pull them out of that every once in a while, sort of to parent and police that to some degree,” she said.
Doctor Tim Farnum says he’s trying to help.
He’s drumming up support thru his organization “Parents Against Underage Smartphones” for a proposal to outlaw sales of smartphones for children under 13.
Stores would have to ask about the age of the intended user and could face fines for multiple violations.
“What we’re doing to kids is not right,” Farnham said. “We’re abandoning kids to technology and it’s doing them a lot of harm. The kids aren’t playing out there anymore. There are certain stages of development that are not happening.”
But Farnum’s proposed ban faces bi-partisan opposition.
A democratic state lawmaker called it the “wrong solution to” a “serious problem” while a republican suggested it’s the work of those who “sit around all day dreaming up ways to control your life”.
Davidson says it’s not the answer for her children.
“I’m all for policy as a tool and as a tool for change, but a rule like this and a law like this, it’s an overreach of government’s role in our lives,” she said.
Supporters still have to collect almost 100,000 signatures to get it on next year’s ballot.
In a statement, the trade group representing wireless companies says “the wireless industry provides a number of tools to help parents make informed choices and manage their children’s usage.”
The proposal would continue to allow sales of basic cell phones for kids, just not smartphones with all the games and apps.