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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 the internet.
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.