How did the Wait Until 8th pledge start?
In 2017, in our community of Austin, we started to discuss the mounting pressure to give children their own smartphones at an early age. We questioned why so many young children at school, sports, and parties are glued constantly to their smartphones. We wondered why on earth a first grader needed the latest iPhone. We agreed that the average age a child receives a smartphone, 10 years old, is too young considering all the risks the device poses. Many parents said they wanted to wait as long as they could but knew it would be an uphill battle. Out of this dialogue came the idea to rally together as a community by starting a pledge. The Wait Until 8th pledge empowers parents to delay giving children a smartphone until at least 8th grade. What started out as a local grassroots movement quickly spread across the country within months.
Why 8th grade?
Many people have asked, why 8th grade? Many experts from child psychologists to internet safety leaders to even technology executives agree that it is best to wait until at least 14 before exposing children to smartphones. Some parents wanted to wait longer, but we really wanted to find some sort of feasible ‘line in the sand’ that the community could get around. Children are receiving smartphones now as early as first grade, and the average age a child receives a smartphone is 10 years old now. By waiting until at least 8th grade, parents are giving their children four more additional years without the distractions and dangers of the smartphone.
Does this mean that by signing the pledge parents will give children smartphones in the 8th grade? No! By signing the pledge, you are agreeing to wait until AT LEAST 8th grade before you permit your child to have a smartphone. This does not mean that you agree to give them a smartphone in 8th grade. You are delaying this technology until at least the 8th grade, and then as a family you can reassess the situation at the time. Some families may think their child is ready for a smartphone in the 8th grade and others may determine a basic phone is better still until their child is older.
how many people have signed the pledge?
As of March 2019, we have close to 20,000 pledges. Pledges are from across the country and are in all 50 states. We think the pledge is resonating with so many people because there was not a tangible resource for parents to help navigate this tough issue before Wait Until 8th. The pledge helps communities come together. There is strength in numbers!
Where can I learn more?
Please check out our FAQ section, this in-depth interview, the following news stories, and @waituntil8th on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. If you you would like to interview a Voice from Wait Until 8th, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wait Until 8th is thankful to the following media outlets for spreading the word about the pledge!
The Today Show, Good Morning America, NPR's On Point news program, USA Today, The Today Show Online, ABC News, Chicago Tribune , Los Angeles Times, Real Simple, Desert News, Kansas City Star, Dallas Morning News, Star Tribune, and many others!