Parents empowered by ‘Wait Until 8th’ keeping kids smartphone free longer. By Genevueve Shaw Brown of ABC News
Across American groups of parents attempt to keep smartphones out of the hands of children.
Brooke Shannon, founder of Wait Until 8th, 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.
Many parents are holding out of buying their kids cell phones. Twice as many children have cell phones now as in 2004. Most teens — 85% of those aged 14 to 17 — have cell phones. So do 69% of 11-14 year olds and 31% of kids aged 8-10, according to a 2010 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Still, there were many parents who preferred to wait. So, the idea came for these parents to rally together and start a pledge.
But the family feels the positive far outweighs any inconvenience. “She reads more, still plays with Legos and is more active and imaginative than I think she would be if she were immersed in a virtual relationship with a screen,” her dad said.
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.