Letter: Parents need information on cell phones, not state mandatesby Heather Lahdenpera, coloradoan.com, 20 June 2017
I am writing in response to the article “Hanging Up on Kids’ Smartphones.” While I understand the concerns that are meant to be addressed with the proposed bill, I do not think this is a matter for the state to decide. Whether or not a child is given a smartphone should ultimately be up to the parents.
However, let me be clear, in order for a parent to make proper and informed decisions for their children about cell phones and other devices, a parent must be aware of the potential risks. Most parents are not aware of the many dangers of cell phone use. There are warnings buried layers deep within our phones and devices. For examples of these warnings you can visit showthefineprint.org.
Screen use has been associated with a myriad of health risks including myopia, retinal damage, decreased melatonin production (a powerful anti-cancer and sleep regulating hormone), sleeplessness, addiction and behavioral issues. These risks were addressed in a discussion in Denver this April by a panel of five national experts. For more information about these issues that children face visit screentimecolorado.com.
Other cities and states are going about addressing this issue in ways other than by eliminating parental control. Berkeley, California has chosen to address one of the health issues surrounding cell phones with a labeling ordinance at point of sale. A Maryland bill seeks to protect children by requiring specific language to be included on product packaging.
In May, The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the California Department of Public Health was sued to release cell phone safety guidelines. The article stated: "Newly released public records show that California public health officials worked for five years on a set of guidelines to warn the public about the potential dangers of cell phones, revising their work 27 times with updated research before abandoning the efforts without ever making their concerns public until ordered by a judge." Parents cannot make wise decisions without information.
Parents need information, not state mandates.
Heather Lahdenpera, Fort Collins