Colorado’s Proposed Underage Phone Ban Is a Dumb Solution for a Real Problem
By now, it’s an age-old debate: At what age should kids own smartphones?
Bill Gates had an interview with the Mirror, you probably heard about it, in which he revealed that he and his wife Melinda didn’t allow their children to own cell phones until the age of 14. It’s become something of a de facto coming-of-age benchmark ever since.
But now Colorado nonprofit Parents Against Underaged Smartphones (PAUS) is out to one-up the tech billionaire, drafting legislation that aims to ban the sale of smartphones to children under the age of 13. The ballot initiative was proposed by PAUS founder Tim Farnum, a Colorado father of five, who most likely began his petition with “Back in my day …”
If the bill passes, Colorado will be the first state to bear legal guidelines on the sale of smartphones to children. Which is cool. Some might even say necessary. Because yes, the way kids use smartphones nowadays seems to be a slow, painful descent toward a kind of self-induced Ludovico Technique. According to latest research, on average, kids are getting their first smartphones at age 10.3. Like, WTF does that even mean, 10.3?
But here’s another thing: preteens aren’t buying those phones themselves. And if they are, that’s a whole other problem altogether. And if they aren’t — guess who this all comes back to? The parents.
There’s an easy solution here, guys: don’t buy your kids smartphones. Study. After. Study. Says. The longer you wait, the better. It’s that simple.
Take it from Colorado state Senator John Kefalas, who told the Coloradan, “Frankly, I think it should remain a family matter.” He went on: “I know there have been different proposals out there regarding the Internet and putting filters on websites that might put kids at risk. I think ultimately, this comes down to the parents … making sure their kids are not putting themselves at risk.”
The man’s right.
Better yet, take it from Bill Gates: “We don’t have cellphones at the table when we are having a meal, we didn’t give our kids cellphones until they were 14 and they complained other kids got them earlier.”
We hear you, PAUS. But if the guy who straight-up helped usher in the tech era can stop his kids from using smartphones without law, you can, too.