Initiative would ban cell phone sales to kids under age 13

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jun 19, 2017

We see younger and younger kids on cell phones these days. Now one group wants to ban them from being sold to anyone who's going to give them to a kid who's under the age of 13. The Colorado initiative would be the first of its kind in the country.

9 year old Greyson Fritzmeier is old enough to ride scooter.

"It just really looks cool on video," Fritzmeier says. "And you can make YouTube videos and it's cool."

And even though he uses a phone to watch those videos he's not quite old enough to have one of his own.

"I think I should wait a little bit older because...stuff," Fritzmeier says.

Fritzmeier actually has some pretty good reasons.

"I used to go to a bad school and they had phones everywhere," Fritzmeier says. "And they were kind of bad because it was a huge distraction because they had them in class and they were like calling and texting."

And he thinks too much phone time will make your eyes blurry. One group is working to make sure kids under the age of 13 don't have consistent exposure to cell phones.

Parents Against Underage Smartphones, or PAUS is pushing a proposal to require retailers to submit reports to the state government verifying that they asked who was planning to use each smart phone they sold, and fine people who repeatedly sold phones to be used by kids and preteens.

Tim Farnum founded PAUS and says, "It's not the government coming at. It's I'm a parent and I think that as parents we should all decide what happens with our kids."

Some parents and lawmakers feel the measure goes too far. Fritzmeier's dad David is one of them.

"That's probably a little overboard," David Fritzmeir says. "I mean I think it's probably I can understand the intent but I think there's probably situations A, where the parent can make that choice and B where their kids may actually need to coordinate or be available by phone."

Fritzmeir says watching his son on his scooter may be a little easier than watching him on the phone. But he'll know when the time is right.

Right now the group is working to gather the nearly 300,000 signatures required to get on the ballot in Novermber 2018. So this is still a long way from becoming reality.