China releases new youth cell phone policy: US must not follow

China recently announced an age-based screen time limit to cut down on children’s phone usage, raising the question of whether or not this policy will truly have positive effects.

China recently announced an age-based screen time limit to cut down on children’s phone usage, raising the question of whether or not this policy will truly have positive effects. This way, China can control and cut down on minors’ screen time, creating healthier, though strictly controlled, lifestyles. While the concerns regarding excessive screen time are valid, imposing such restrictions in the U.S. pose challenges to individual freedoms and personal responsibility.

A critical issue at stake is the potential violation of the freedom of choice, a principle deeply embedded in the U.S. The mandate of screen time limits based on age could be perceived as government overreach, encroaching upon personal freedoms in a society that places a high value on individual choice. Setting screen time limits based on age might seem like the government is being too controlling, especially in places like Berkeley where people prioritize having the freedom to make their own choices. Berkeley is known for being outspoken on social issues and citizens might not like the idea and prefer other ways to encourage responsible screen use without government regulations.

It is also crucial to consider situations where immediate access to phones is a necessity, especially for children. In emergencies or instances where their safety is at risk, having a phone can be a lifeline for communication. Creating a policy that rigidly restricts screen time may accidentally hold back a child’s ability to reach out for help promptly. Additionally, there are various educational and extracurricular activities that children may engage in through digital platforms, contributing to their overall development. 

A restriction might slow down their participation in valuable learning opportunities and communal activities. Balancing the need for responsible technology while also keeping children safe from too much screen time becomes essential in ensuring a well-rounded approach to children’s interaction with digital devices.

Teaching kids about using tech the right way from an early age can be extremely beneficial as well. In school, they can learn about how to be smart online — like thinking carefully, staying safe, and not going overboard with screen usage. This way, they’ll be ready to use technology well and know why it’s important to keep things balanced.

Encouraging parental responsibility is one way to cut down screen time without having to legally enforce it. Instead of relying solely on governmental regulations, empowering parents to make informed decisions about their children’s screen time is a more effective strategy. The freedom of speech is a fundamental right that allows individuals to express their thoughts, ideas, and opinions without fear of punishment. Instead of resorting to strict limitations, a focus on education, awareness campaigns, and parental involvement may prove to be a more successful approach.

While concerns about technology dependence are very real and important, copying China’s screen time limit policy may not be the most suitable solution for the United States.  If implemented, this policy would not only undermine our individual  American freedoms, but would also wreak havoc on teenagers. 

Because of this, respecting cultural diversity, teaching kids about how to use technology efficiently, and empowering parents to take an active role in shaping their children’s digital habits are primary and should be prioritized over a policy that is the same for everyone and will limit freedom. Phone policies, such as the one suggested for China, would cause more harm then good.