A state senator in Vermont introduced a bill on the first day of the legislative session banning the use of cell phones by anyone under the age of 21. According to KMBC, possession of a cell phone by anyone under 21 would be punishable by a year in prison, $1,000 fine or both.

State Senator John Rodgers wrote the following in his proposal:

In light of the dangerous and life-threatening consequences of cellphone 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.

Additionally Rodgers writes in the bill that cell phones are a large factor in teenage driving deaths, bullying and radicalization.

KMBC reports that Rodgers told the Times Argus the bill was introduced to raise conversation and he doesn't expect it to pass. Rodgers proposal comes after the Vermont Legislature raised the age to buy guns to 21 in 2018, and tobacco products to 21 in 2019.

His radical idea that teens, or any of us, constantly plugged into our cell phones isn't necessarily a healthy thing is a conversation worth having. While my smart phone has radically reduced me getting out the laptop. I find my nose buried in my phone checking email, checking Facebook and Instagram and just poking around the web way more than I did back in the days of flip phones. The internet at my fingertips may have decreased the quality of my life a little bit.

The other conversation worth having is when is it appropriate for the government to let it's citizens decide for themselves how to live their lives? Especially engaging in dangerous habits or activities that could endanger their health. The drinking age in most states was raised to 21 to combat drunk driving. Anti tobacco groups cite that keeping cigarettes away from older teens and young adults will prevent more adults from making the choice to smoke as well as reducing smoking among young people. Is it good to limit the power of bad decision making from 18 year olds?  And if it is, why aren't we raising the voting age and the age to serve in the military?

There's certainly a couple of good conversations here. Definitely worth having over a cocktail after I step out for a cigarette and check the messages on my phone.


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