Children's health | Parenting | Family | Health

This Dad Is Trying To Ban Your Preteens From Using Smartphones

Flickr/ BradFlickinger

Tim Farnum, an anesthesiologist, is also the man behind the message of Parents Against Underage Smartphones.

As a doctor and father of five living in Colorado, he is seeking to ban the sale of smartphones to children under the age of 13. After witnessing first-hand the negative effects of the device on his own children, he has taken up arms to create legislation that would make it illegal for stores to sell smartphones to children under 13 years old.

“They would get the phone and lock themselves in their room and change who they were,” Farnum told The Coloradoan.

The proposed legislation would be the first of its kind in the United States and it needs 300,000 signatures to make it onto the 2018 ballot.

If it is enacted, the ban would require retailers to submit monthly purchase reports to the Colorado Department of Revenue. Any stores found in violation of the law could pay fines from $500 to $20,000.

Although many believe that it's not up to the state to regulate the cell phone use of minors, there is something to be concerned about when it comes to tech addiction.

In fact, parents in the US are sending children as young as 13 years old to rehab for their extreme dependency on smartphones. The Restart Life Centre in Seattle even offers "intensive recovery programs" for teens who can't control their addiction to electronic devices.

According to Dr. Peter Whybrow, director of neuroscience at UCLA, the screen is like "electronic cocaine" for young minds.

Five signs your child might have digital addiction:

  • Lack of interest in other activities
  • Constantly talking about or being distracted by technology
  • Mood swings and argumentative behavior (more than usual)
  • Withdrawal symptoms: stress or tension when the tablet/cell is removed
  • Increased lying about how much time they actually spend on the device

The good news is that it can be cured. If you recognize the signs of digital addiction, here are some steps you can take to correct it:

  • have an honest discussion with your child about why you're limiting their screen time
  • replace digital game play with more constructive toys like Lego, books, nature and sports
  • help your kids to connect with other kinds
  • be a role model : set your own non-screen time

[h/t Momtastic/ Independent / New York Post 1 / New York Post 2 / Daily Mail]