Colorado ballot proposal discusses smartphone age restrictions

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo — Coloradans could be the first in the nation to decide whether smartphones should be sold to kids younger than age 13.

The proposal still needs nearly 100,000 signatures before it becomes a measure on the state ballot.

The nonprofit Parents Against Underage Smartphones (PAUS) is behind the proposal.

It would ban the sale of smartphones to children under 13 and to adults who are buying one for a child in that age group.

“Children aren’t able to handle it, and only 30 to 35 percent of parents monitor their kids screen times or have any type or parental devices,” said Dr. Tim Farnum, president of PAUS.

One parent told FOX21 families all have their own guidelines.

“I’m sure it’s a discussion we need to have, but I don’t like it being forced on people. I think parents need to make those decisions,” said Elizabeth Mulock, mother of three.

They’re decisions Dr. Farnum says can still be made at home. There’s nothing in the proposal barring parents from lending their smartphones to kids at home.

“Lending your child a smartphone doesn’t really help, because if they have it then you don’t. How are you going to contact them, how are they going to contact you?” said Mulock.

According to Dr. Farnum, apps and technology are becoming too much for children.

“There’s really nothing one parent can do, even a group of parents,” said Dr. Farnum.

It’s why he hopes this proposal makes the ballot and it passes. He says parents and kids could never break the law because it pertains to the sale of smartphones.

As for retailers, they’ll be required to get a user’s age before reporting it to the Colorado Department of Revenue.

If they don’t abide, they’ll face a warning first, and then fines of up to $20,000.

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