Smartphone sellers in Colorado might be asked to get information about the age of the primary user of the mobile phones they sell. A campaign in Colorado aims to stop retailers from selling a smartphone to kids below 13 years of age.

Smartphone, Colorado, kids below 13
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No sales to kids below 13 years

For retailers found selling a smartphone to the kids below 13 years of age, campaigners are demanding a fine up to $500 after a warning.

“Retailers must verbally inquire about the age of the intended primary owner of the smartphone prior to the sale, document the response, and file a monthly report to the Department of Revenue,” the proposal states.

Tim Farnum, who proposed the initiative, thinks that the smartphones can be dangerous to kids in a variety of ways, including as a cause for suicide. Although Farnum thought of starting the campaign after seeing the ill effects of smartphones on his children, the doctor thinks that children should be introduced to the technology world at the right age and not too early.

It’s not just Farnum, but other parents in Colorado are having a hard time too as their kids become obsessed with smartphones, which keeps them inside the home instead of going out and socializing. The Sheridan-based doctor knows the journey will not be easy, but he believes it will be a good start at least.

“If moms and dads want to give a kid a smartphone, there’s not a lot that can be done,” said Farnum, who runs an organization called Parents Against Underage Smartphones (PAUS).

Senator John Kefalas agrees with the parents’ concern but thinks it should not be the government’s business. Kefalas, however, believes that every parent should decide the right age when their kids should be introduced to the device, notes Gadget Gestures.

Smartphones can impact kids’ development

Basing his argument on research, Farnum says that psychological evidence does show some real damage to the development of kids with smartphones.

“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.”

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. Thereafter, it must be ensured that the use of a smartphone is not reducing their sleep time and time for various other necessary activities, notes Gadget Gestures.

Separately, research in 2016 concluded that parents who have given a mobile device such as smartphones and iPads to children who exhibit tantrums can develop various types of development issues. The research stated that rather than focusing on coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills, which comes from socializing, the children spent most of their time on the device, notes TechTimes.

Another study on children between 6 and 36 months concluded that too frequent use of a touchscreen can impact their sleeping pattern and double the risk of sleep deprivation.

Farnum’s campaign needs about 300,000 signatures to be eligible for the 2018 ballot.