Parents empowered by "Wait Until 8th" keeping kids smartphone-free longer

posted by Dave DeVille - 

The threat of social isolation, it seems, that motivates parents to give their kids a smartphone even if they feel the child is not quite ready.

That pressure led one mom to create a now-national movement, Wait Until 8th, in which parents sign a pledge to not get their child a smartphone before 8th grade. Founder Brooke Shannon told ABC News that in Austin, Texas, where she lives, there is "mounting pressure" to give children their own smartphone at a young age.

"We started seeing children as young as 1st and 2nd grade coming to school, play dates and birthday parties with the latest iPhone. As we started to ask around, many parents said they eventually caved on the smartphone because 'everyone had them' and they did not want their child to feel left out," Shannon said.

Still, there were many parents who preferred to wait. So, the idea came for these parents to rally together and start a pledge.

"Our hope is to create a support network for those parents who would like to wait on giving their child a phone," Shannon said.

Here's how it works: A pledge becomes active when 10 or more families sign it from the same grade at a school.

It's designed this way, Shannon said, so there's no fear of being the only parent to sign. The pledge is for smartphones only. Parents who want to wait on a smartphone but will allow their child to have a basic phone that just calls and texts can sign the pledge. The organization sees basic phones as free of many of the distractions and dangers of the smartphone.

Wait Until 8th wants to "let kids be kids a little longer." 

About 1,300 families with children in more than 400 schools in 43 states have already signed the pledge in the few months since the movement began, according to Wait Until 8th.

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