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! 

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By: Pam Perskie

Over the past year, a small group of friends and I began discussing the issues created by smartphone use and how children are getting devices earlier and earlier. Some moms we knew with older kids mentioned that they wished in retrospect that they had held off longer. 

We wanted our kids to enjoy the same things we did when we were kids like riding bikes with friends, reading books, and having face-to-face relationships. We also worried about giving children access to smartphones before they might be sufficiently emotionally developed to deal with it. Preteens are developing their sense of self and confidence and social media can exacerbate feelings of loneliness, exclusion, and tendencies to bully and be bullied. We felt that the downsides of social media at a young age outweighed the potential benefits. And while we didn't want to restrict access to technology completely or limit their access forever, we also did not want to feel pressured to get our kids a smartphone just because other families had. 

We decided to hold out longer for our 9 year olds together and promised to support each other. We realized that it would be an uphill battle given that we were just a few parents out of an entire class and worried that we would be subject to peer pressure in the years ahead. We felt that there were likely other parents who shared our concerns but it was hard to figure out how to find and support each other.

Fast forward to around two weeks ago when one of the moms found the Wait Until 8th pledge. I knew immediately that it was exactly what we needed to rally our community. It was time to stop talking endlessly about the topic and start taking action. I created a closed Facebook group and invited a few moms. The mission of the group is to create a welcoming and supportive place for parents trying to make childhood smartphone free for bit longer. 

A few days later, we had more than 30 members including folks from neighboring towns. Two weeks later, we have close to 140 members and the group is growing each day. The community response has been overwhelming positive. We now have active pledges for the 4th grade class, 3rd grade class, 2nd grade class and 1st grade class. I hope that the pledge can continue to spread to other schools in our community over time. We are stronger together!