Should Children Under 13 Be Using Smartphones?

pokemon-1553995_1920.jpgTom Farnum, an anesthesiologist from Colorado, wants his state to pass a law forbidding retailers from selling a smartphone that is intended for use by anyone under 13 years old. He is the spearhead of a statewide petition drive aimed at accomplishing that objective.


Because Farnum has witnessed the effect that he believes smartphones had on his own children, and is concerned about the results of various studies on the same topic. In summary, the concerns are that smartphones and similar technology:

  • Interfere with a child’s development skills
  • Negatively impact sleeping patterns
  • Cause children to be more reclusive

Farnum’s cause raises important issues such as whether cell phones and other technology are safe for children’s use, and whether the regulation of a child’s cellphone use is her parent’s job, or the government’s job.

In my opinion, as studies increasingly highlight the dangers to a child of cell phone use, the government has a legitimate role to play, as it does in all matters of public safety.

Nevertheless, a child’s safety is perhaps the most important responsibility of a parent. And so, just as a parent pays close attention to who the child’s friends are; what television shows she watches; what food she eats; and whether she wears a helmet when she is riding her bike, so, too, must a parent keep abreast of the latest research regarding the dangers to their child that might be posed by cell phones.

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