A smartphone ban for kids, do you think there should be a law?

Tech Talk Tuesday #73: A smartphone ban for kids, do you think there should be a law?

I received a few emails this week about the appropriate age to buy a young person a smartphone. Even if every kid you know has a smartphone, please keep reading. The more we are all thinking and talking about this, the better the solutions we will find. Data shows that younger and younger kids are getting smartphones —what is too young?
 
The first email was about a campaign called Wait Until 8th, which is a movement urging parents to sign a pledge saying they will not give their child a smartphone until 8th grade. To encourage peer support, the pledge takes effect once 10 families in a community or school sign it. Their website is worth checking out. They offer practical reasons for not giving smartphones to kids before 8th grade. 
 
The next email was about a nonprofit group in Colorado called PAUS (Parents Against Underage Smartphones). I find this campaign pretty wild. PAUS is working on a ballot initiative to ban the sale of smartphones to kids who are under 13. If kids or adults try to purchase a smartphone, the store is required to ask who the phone is for. If it is for a person younger than 13, they would not be allowed to sell it to that kid or adult. 
 
Here is how it would work from the language in their initial fiscal impact statement:

Beginning January 1, 2019, Initiative 29 prohibits retailers from selling or permitting the sale of a smartphone to a person 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. 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 (DOR) that lists the type of phone sold (smartphone or cellular) and the age of the intended primary owner at the time of purchase.

Wow, I had not expected a law like this to be proposed. It is still a long way from the state Senate floor. Starting this month, they will start collecting the 100,000 physical signatures needed to get it on the fall 2018 ballot. 
 
So, for TTT let’s talk about what everyone in the family feels is the right age to get a smartphone - and speaking of cellphones, our survey on cellphones in schools has over 2,000 responses and we can’t wait to share the results with you in the near future.

  • Would there be any age that you/ your kids or students think that is too young for a child to have free reign on a smartphone?
  • What do you think about a law regarding youth’s age and ability to own a smartphone?