Parents: Would you pledge to not give your child a smartphone?

Parents: Would you pledge to not give your child a smartphone?

Parenting

Parents: Would you pledge to not give your child a smartphone?

My kids are too young for smartphones.

But at 6 and 4, they already know what they are and how to find their favorite kid-friendly apps and games on them.

I haven’t really thought ahead to when I would deem it OK to give my children their own phone.

But it’s going to be a while.

Apparently I am not the only parent who is leery of how many kids have their own smartphone and how much time they are spending on them.

And now, we’re all finally encouraging each other to do something about it.

Would you take the pledge?

It’s called the “WaitUntil8th” pledge, and it asks parents to commit to NOT giving their children smart phones until at least the 8th grade, which is typically around the age of 13.

Austin mother Brooke Shannon was one of the original voices behinds the effort. She said she and other parents were seeing first and second graders with smartphones and they didn’t understand why seven and eight year olds needed the technology.

“Our hope is to create a support network for those parents who would like to wait on giving their child a (smart) phone,” Shannon said in an email.

I think its brilliant.

The backers of this movement recognize that much of the urgency of getting a cell phone is built around the idea that EVERYONE else in your kid’s school already has one.

This pledge eliminates that argument and the peer pressure associated with it.

How it works

According to the company’s website, the pledge relies on your parent network, because it only becomes “official” once families in your own child’s school and grade start participating.

The site notes:

By signing the online pledge, you promise not to give your child a smartphone until at least 8th grade as long as at least 10 other families from your child’s grade and school pledge as well.  Once 10 families have pledged to delay the smartphone, you will be notified that the pledge is in effect!

Just imagine, if you and all your friends and all THEIR friends agreed to not give your kids cell phones, none of your tweens and teens would be able to whine, “But so and so’s mom let her/him get one.”

So far, more than 1,500 families in 43 states have signed the pledge. Those families represent more than 500 schools across the nation, Shannon said.

Why it’s important

There are obviously other benefits to this effort too.

Once kids have their own tech, parents need to monitor their screen time, worry about with whom they are interacting on social media and what sites they are visiting.

Not to mention I see way too many children just zoning out in front of phones at restaurants instead of actually interacting and talking with their siblings and families.

Now I can see how many parents would want to be able to reach their children during the day (though I managed to make it through college without a cell phone.)

Nonetheless, the creators of the pledge recognize that and suggest that if you MUST get your child a phone before 8th grade to make it a basic model that doesn’t connect to the internet and apps.

So parents, are you willing to take the pledge?

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