Should the government dictate smartphone age limits?

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said he believes Congress should pass legislation banning kids from owning smartphones, citing research showing that smartphone use is harmful to children’s development.

Carlson compared the hypothetical ban to age restrictions for purchasing cigarettes, saying that smartphone addiction in children can even be life-threatening.

“Smartphone use makes your kids sadder, slower, and more isolated, and over time, can kill them,” Carlson said.

Problems with kids’ smartphone use

Carlson pointed to research showing that excessive screen time among children correlates to lower scores in cognitive tests, evidence of how harmful smartphones are to young brains.

In addition, smartphones make kids less happy when they’re used for social media like Facebook and Instagram.

“The more time you spend liking social media posts and updating your Facebook status, the less healthy you are,” Carlson said, pointing to a University of Missouri study that showed Facebook users were more depressed than non-users and had more envy of others.

“A 2016 study found that quitting Facebook boosted psychological health,” Carlson continued. “Last fall, a study in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that social media use is directly tied to feelings of loneliness and depression, which can lead to life-threatening psychiatric disorders.”

What’s the solution?

Carlson said most parents know all the facts of the potential dangers of child smartphone use, but they don’t do anything about it because it’s “too hard.”

“Try taking an iPhone away from a 7th grader,” Carlson said. “You’ll learn a lot about what ‘addiction’ means. It’s like trying to get a junkie into rehab. You cannot do it alone. Parents need help.”

That, Carlson said, is where the federal government needs to step in.

“There’s no reason why the Congress, which made smartphones possible in the first place, shouldn’t be part of the solution,” Carlson said. “So here’s an idea: Ban smartphone use for children. Pass a federal law tomorrow. Why wouldn’t we do that?”

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