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One Colorado father has made it his mission to keep smartphones
out of the hands of children.
According to a report in The Washington
Post, Denver-area anesthesiologist Tim Farnum has created a
non-profit called Parents Against Underage Smartphones (PAUS),
which has drafted a ballot initiative (no.
29) that would make it illegal for retailers to sell
smartphones to children 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.”
Farnum created PAUS after he came to the conclusion that
smartphone use was harmful to children. He saw how his two
youngest sons behaved after they got their first devices: Where
they were once energetic and outgoing, Farnum says they both
became quiet and reclusive.
According to the ballot initiative, should a retailer violate the
proposed law and sell a smartphone to a child under the age of
13, they would first receive a written warning, and then be hit
with a $500 fine for their second transgression. The fine would
then double for each subsequent violation.
The law would not apply to regular cell phones without access to
Farnum compared his proposed law to similar age restrictions on
cigarettes, alcohol, and pornography.
Farnum’s non-profit will need to collect 100,000 physical
signatures by fall 2018 for the initiative to reach the ballot in
time for the 2018 elections.