A Vermont Lawmaker Calls for Cell Phone Age Limits

No states currently place age limits on cell phone usage.

No states currently place age limits on cell phone usage. Shutterstock

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

A new proposal, which points out all the other things young people aren't allowed to do, would restrict cell phone usage to residents over the age of 21.

Vermont residents under the age of 21 would be banned from owning or using cell phones under a bill introduced in the state legislature this week.

The bill lists a number of dangers associated with cell phone usage, including access to the internet and social media, which “are used to radicalize and recruit terrorists, fascists, and other extremists.” School shooters, it says, have often used cell phones to research previous shootings, and cell phone usage while driving “is one of the leading killers of teenagers in the United States.”

The bill, introduced by state Sen. John Rodgers, a Democrat, was written largely to make a point. The legislature, he said, “seems bent on taking away our Second Amendment rights,” and said a cell phone is more dangerous than a gun.

The language of the proposal attempts to underscore that point. “In light of the dangerous and life-threatening consequences of cell phone use by young people, it is clear that persons under 21 years of age are not developmentally mature enough to safely possess them, just as the General Assembly has concluded that persons under 21 years of age are not mature enough to possess firearms, smoke cigarettes, or consume alcohol,” the legislation concludes.

Under the bill, violators could be punished with a fine of up to $1,000 or up to a year in jail, or some combination of both. If it passes, Vermont would be the first state to place an age limit on cell phone usage.

But Rodgers doesn’t believe it will become law.

“I have no delusions that it’s going to pass,” Rodgers told the Barre Montpelier Times Argus. “I wouldn’t probably vote for it myself.”

The bill is awaiting a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Kate Elizabeth Queram is a Staff Correspondent for Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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