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.