Have you heard of Wait Until 8th? A few months ago my 6th grader begged for a smart phone. And of course, what was the premise of his argument? “All my friends have one!” Needless to say, I did not yield to the pressure and he still doesn’t have a phone. (He did get a phone to travel to NY by himself a few months ago, but without internet access.) I consulted with one of my savviest friends when it comes to parenting, and she said that a few years ago, the mothers in one of her children’s class had made a pledge not to give their kids cell phones until they would go away for high-school. (Let’s discuss “the sending our children out of state for high-school” another day, but yes, as for now that’s my reality.) I thought, “how brilliant!” If parents collude, then the pressure is reduced dramatically! Then, recently I bumped into a similar concept, Wait Until 8th.
Parents make a pledge to Wait Until 8th – which means they wait until AT LEAST 8th grade to give their children a smart phone. When the average age of kids having a smart phone in America is 10 years old, this empowers parents to delay this for a good number of years. Colluding on this decreases the pressure both for kids and parents to follow the status quo. Definitely less of an uphill battle!
So How does Wait Until 8th work?
Basically, you sign the Wait Until 8th pledge, which takes effect as soon as 10 parents in your child’s grade and school sign the pledge! You sign one for each of your children. Once you sign the pledge, you can get parents in your school on board and once there are 10 parents in your child’s class signed up, you all get an email that your pledge came into effect. So, the pressure is off ;-) or at least some of the pressure is off…
I personally do not understand why young children need to own a smart phone. I get that the days of telling your parents to come pick you up, via the use of a payphone are long gone, but hey… if you need to be in touch with your child, then get him a good old flip phone.
There’s ample research to show why children should not be exposed to smart phones. And come on, just anecdotally, I can see the effects it has on adults (myself included), but if you need more info on this, here are some powerful facts on why delaying the use of smart phones is the smart choice.
Wait Until 8th’s website offers a lot of resources here and here, for parents who want to learn more about the issue of kids and technology, in particular, smart phones. There are a few good reads there that I was not aware of. Of the ones mentioned, I’ve read iGen – which is a bit heavy on research data and I had a hard time getting through some parts of it, but overall I liked it. I’m ordering The Big Disconnect and Be The Parent, Please. You can also listen to Episode 23 of Jewish Latin Princess Podcast with Erica Keswin, on the intersection between humans and technology!
I’ve signed my pledge.
Now, onto you, would you sign the Wait Until 8th Pledge?