Come to the Table

By: Krista Boan

Like many modern parents, I can fluently navigate analog and digital realities--and value them both.  I love a game of Twister.  And I speak Minecraft.  I can find my way along a country road.   But I also love my GPS.  I know the value of sitting beside a suffering friend, holding her hand in silence.  But I have also experienced beautiful, genuine outpourings of love over Facebook.  And while one of my greatest hopes is that my own children will learn how to use technology for good, I am also concerned by the research coming out about the effect smartphones are having on their generation. 

When I first heard about Wait Until 8th, I breathed a sigh of relief.  There were other parents out there who shared my concern, and they had come up with an idea: a pledge designed to help parents band together to delay giving their kids a smartphone until at least 8th grade.  Such a simple concept.  So much potential to transform communities. Be still, my heart.

Dr. Natasha Burgert Joins Wait Until 8th

Wait Until 8th is excited to have Dr. Natasha Burgert join as a Voice for Wait Until 8th.

Dr. Burgert is an innovative pediatrician in Kansas City, MO and National Spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

In her full-time private practice, she strives to leverage the traditional values and teachings of medical science within today's digital health revolution. She does this through real-time media channels and innovative digital tools that allow her to add reputable impact to daily health care decisions. 

How One Community Said Yes to Waiting on the Smartphone

Wait Until 8th is spreading like wild fire! More than 2,900 parents from 49 states and 500+ schools are delaying the smartphone by signing the Wait Until 8th pledge. 

In the past month, CNN Headline News, USA Today, the Today Show, ABC News National, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Kansas City Star, Real Simple and numerous local broadcast stations have featured the pledge.

Stories are pouring in on how communities are rallying together around Wait Until 8th. We want to share one of these stories with our community of supporters.

Pam Perskie lives in the wonderful community of Little Silver in New Jersey. She and her husband Joe have taken the Wait Until 8th pledge for their two daughters. Pam championed the pledge in her small town to rally many families to delay the smartphone. We are happy to share her Wait Until 8th story with you! 

Kids and Smartphones: When FOMO Leads to Endless FOMO

Kids and Smartphones: When FOMO Leads to Endless FOMO

By: Brooke Shannon

Parents are buying their kids smartphones out of FOMO and this is leading to endless FOMO for their kids!

FOMO—fear of missing out—haunts children and adults alike.  The dictionary defines FOMO “as anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”

Wait Until 8th Smartphone Pledge Signed in 14 States and 40 Schools in First Month

By Brooke Shannon

Last month I launched the Wait Until 8th pledge along with several other committed parents who wanted to fight the mounting pressure in our community to give children a smartphone at an early age. 

The  pledge is empowering parents across the country to say yes to waiting on the smartphone.  Hundreds of parents from 14 states and 40 schools have signed the pledge at www.waituntil8th.org . 

Here is what some of the parents that signed the pledge are saying: 

"This is incredible! I am signing 100%.  My older two children got phones in 6th grade and it has added very little value and a world I don't want them exposed to."

"I love this! I’m so glad that you have initiated this effort on behalf of all of our kids and the community! It’s gained so much momentum.  I’m so excited!" 

"We had no idea how distracting and terrible the smartphone would be for our son when we gave him one in 6th grade. We absolutely are on board for waiting until at least 8th grade for our other two children."  

"As a middle school teacher, I have experienced what a negative impact smartphones have in the classroom and in the social arena. Thank you for standing up to this push for phones earlier in childhood."

A really famous parent - who knows a thing or two about technology - spoke out last week saying he doesn’t think children should have a smartphone until they’re 14. That is 8th grade! Thank you, Bill Gates! Bill and Melinda also put rules in place once their children have smartphones. Phones are not allowed at the dinner table and screen time is cut off at a certain point in the evening.

Bill Gates didn't let his kids use cell phones until they turned 14

While most young kids and teenagers spend hours upon hours glued to tablets and smartphones, Bill Gates' children had a markedly different experience growing up. During a recent interview with the Mirror , the former Microsoft CEO said that when his children were growing up, he limited their exposure to the addicting glow of digital screens.

What really astonished me is that a former Google manager on 60 Minutes warned America about the addictive nature of smartphones.  He compared smartphones to slots machines in children's pockets and said there's a whole playbook of techniques to get people to use the product for as long as possible because that is how the tech industry makes money.

Smartphones are addictive, distracting and sometimes even dangerous yet are widespread in elementary and middle school because of unrealistic social pressure and expectations to have one. Say yes to waiting on the smartphone until at least 8th grade at www.waituntil8th.org .

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!

If you would like your child to have a basic phone that just calls and texts, you still can sign the pledge!  Every major carrier makes a basic flip phone that just calls and texts with no data plan.The basic phone avoids many of the distractions and dangers of the smartphone. 

Let kids be kids a little longer. Childhood is too short to waste on a smartphone. Take the pledge at www.waituntil8th.org.