You can keep what you want from the Americans, but you can not be accused of a lack of pioneering and actionism. This is precisely what Tim Farnum from Colorado has now demonstrated and launched a movement that will allow smartphones for children under 13 years.
The initiative founded by Farnum is called “Parents Against Underage Smartphones” (PAUS) and specifically provides that providers of smartphones should check whether the buyer is at least thirteen years old. And so mobile devices are then not bought via detours via parents or “the big brother”, these should indicate at each purchase, from whom the smartphone will be primarily used. In order to exclude such tricks, or to make the buyer liable in case of the case.
The “case of cases” or the purpose of the exercise is, according to Farnum, children to remain children and grow up to teenagers before they have to deal mainly with the influence of social media. From a psychological point of view, Farnum has experienced it with his own son who, with problems, would like to be alone with his smartphone on his own room and his consolation and distraction then often in wrong places.
In general, Farnum and the initiative is not about keeping children off the Internet. The possibilities and advantages of the use of tablets or computers with Internet access should be clear – with appropriate filters and time limit – young parents. In PAUS, it is more a matter of keeping the constant presence of messages, the self-staging of Facebook or Instagram, and simply to keep lousy information sources and bad influences out of growing children. And also passively please, when Papa and Mama once again present the whole world their children at Facebook, who do not even want that.
Children should be able to get to know the world without the partly very superficial mechanisms or as a target group of advertising marketers and then, above all, not round the clock. The well-known problem of permanent accessibility and the fear of missing something or losing the connection, just. A circumstance under which a not insignificant part of older age groups has to suffer. The one more and almost unconsciously, the other less.
Smartphone ownership of children in Germany in 2016 by age group (Source: Statista)
PAUS has received from the official side, in any case, the Go for the submission of a citizens’ complaint in the USA. For this purpose, it takes 300,000 signatures by November 2018, then the request by law must be examined by the state and considered as a draft bill. The fact that this does not suit everyone is clear in a very neo-liberal democracy like the USA.
The Democratic senator from Colorado, John Kefalas, emphasizes, for example, that any law is too much an intervention in the private family life of Americans. To protect children from the dangers of the Internet is the task of the parents and at all, the examination and handling of age controls is a logistical nightmare for retailers, manufacturers and buyers, according to Kefalas.
For me, the typical defiance and “It does more harm than good” clarification without foundation, while at the same time social services and the same enlightenment programs are drastically drastically reduced by the orange clown in the White House.
I personally welcome the project and would give my children just a dumbphone or a smartphone child-friendly set up, so they remain accessible and at least a bit look over their shoulder while surfing. What do you think of the initiative? Does Farnum take too much wind and is the proposal too much intrusion into privacy? Or is there something to it and with the idea that subsequent generations as psychologically damaged go into puberty?