We empower parents to say yes to waiting for the smartphone

cc. The US-American parents’ initiative “Wait Until 8th” from Texas, founded in 2017, went to public with the following text.

The “Wait Until 8th” pledge empowers parents to rally together to delay giving children a smartphone until at least 8th grade.  By banding together, this will decrease the pressure felt by kids and parents alike over the kids having a smartphone.
Smartphones are distracting and potentially dangerous for children yet are widespread in elementary and middle school because of unrealistic social pressure and expectations to have one.
These devices are quickly changing childhood for children. Playing outdoors, spending time with friends, reading books and hanging out with family is happening a lot less to make room for hours of snap chatting, instagramming, and catching up on You Tube.
Parents feel powerless in this uphill battle and need community support to help delay the ever-evolving presence of the smartphone in the classroom, social arena and family dinner table. Let’s band together to wait until at least eighth grade before children are allowed to have a smartphone.
Every major carrier makes a basic phone that just calls and texts without a data plan if you believe your child will need to get in touch with you before 8th grade. The Wait Until 8th pledge is encouraging parents to delay the smartphone. If you would like your child to have a basic phone that just calls and texts or a two-way calling watch, you still can sign the pledge! The basic phone and two-way calling watch avoid many of the distractions and dangers of the smartphone.
Childhood is too short to waste on a smartphone. Take the pledge today!

Why wait?

There is a reason why top Silicon Valley executives are saying no to the smartphone until at least 14 for their children. In fact, there is a long list of reasons and parents need to know them.
Smartphones are changing childhood
Childhood is changing for children. Playing outdoors, spending time with friends, reading books and hanging out with family is happening a lot less to make room for hours of snap chatting, instagramming, and catching up on You Tube. With children spending anywhere between 3 to 7 hours daily in front of a screen, many childhood essentials are pushed aside for online amusement.

Smartphones are addictive

New research shows dependence on your smartphone may produce some of the same addictive brain responses similar to alcohol, drug and gambling addictions. Smartphones are like slot machines in your children‘s pocket constantly persuading them to crave more. The tech industry intentionally designs smartphone apps and social media for people to use for long periods of time because this is how they make their money.

Smartphones are an academic distraction

Elementary and middle school years establish the foundation for your child’s academic success. Children learn how to productively manage time, projects and homework. Introducing a constant distraction with a smartphone is paving a path for academic mediocrity. Studies show that after a child receives a smartphone the child’s grades are likely to suffer. Another study found that children who attend schools with smartphone bans did better on tests.

Smartphones impair sleep

Studies show that the use of smartphones and other portable devices with screens affects the quantity and quality of sleep in children and teens. Adolescents are likely restless because they anticipate receiving texts and social media messages from friends, which affects their nighttime routine. Some children even wake up in the middle of the night to check texts or social media. Sleep disturbance in childhood is known to have adverse effects on health, including poor diet, obesity, weakened immune system, stunted growth, and mental health issues.

Smartphones interfere with relationships

Many parents regret allowing their child to have a smartphone because they have experienced the way the smartphone is destructive to relationships. The parent-child relationship suffers. Children are often inattentive with the constant distraction the phone brings. Face to face relationships dwindle as children shift their time and energy to investing in their online “friendships.”

Smartphones increase the risk for anxiety and depression

Children are not emotionally equipped to navigate tricky social media waters at such an early age. Viewing someone else’s highlight reel on social media often leads youth to think they are missing out or are not enough compared with their peers. Research shows that the more time someone uses social media the more likely they are to be depressed.
In addition, when children overuse technology, the constant stimulation of the brain causes the hormone cortisol to rise. Too much cortisol can inhibit a child from feeling calm. The loss of tranquility can lead to serious anxiety disorders.

Smartphones put your child at risk for cyber bullying

Bullying is no longer limited to the playground or locker room. Bullies seek to harm children through social media and texts often making retreat for the victim impossible. The most common medium used for cyber bullying is the phone. Nearly 43% of children have been bullied online. Only one in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse.

Smartphones expose children to sexuell content

Smartphones have enabled children to view pornography anywhere. Pornography marketers intentionally target youth online to lure them to dangerous images and videos. One study showed that 42% of online youth users have been exposed to online pornography. Of those, 66% reported unwanted exposure to pornography often through online ads.  
Not only are children viewing sexual content with their phones but they are creating it as well.  More and more children are “sexting” (sending sexual text messages and or explicit images).  Also, various apps open the doors to sexual predators seeking to track, groom and harm our children.

Technology executives ban smartphones for their children

According to a New York Times piece, many technology executives wait until their child is 14 before they allow them to have a phone. While these teenagers can make calls and text, they are not given a data plan until 16. If leaders of digital giants like Google, eBay, Apple and Yahoo are delaying the smartphone then should this not give us pause? Executives that flourish on the success of technology are protecting their children from the smartphone. Should we not do the same?    •

Source: waituntil8th.org

Take the pledge

By signing the pledge, you promise not to give your child a smartphone until at least 8th grade as long as at least 10 families total from your child’s grade and school pledge.  If you would like your child to have a basic phone that just calls and texts, you still can sign the pledge! The basic phone avoids many of the distractions and dangers of the smartphone.
Once 10 families have pledged, you will be notified that the pledge is in effect! Wait Until 8th will email you and the other parents who have signed from your grade to let you know the families on board the active pledge for your child’s grade. This helps you to support one another. There is strength in numbers!
We will not share your information with any third party outside of our organization. Your information will not be made public on this site.

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Spread the word

Tell your friends and family about this movement. There’s no better way to make an impact than to become an active advocate yourself. Share the pledge with family and friends and make an impact today! Check out our Wait Until 8th Resource page for a comprehensive support center to help guide you in championing the pledge. Your voice can make a difference. Rally your circles. There is strength in numbers.

Mobile phone ban in French schools

At the end of July, the French parliament imposed a mobile phone ban at pre-schools, primary schools and secondary schools. This affects pupils between the ages of three and fifteen. The law tightens an existing regulation from 2010.
The ban applies to all school premises for breaks and also for school activities outside the school campus, for example on school trips.
Exceptions are made when the mobile phone is required for school purposes or for children with disabilities.
Underlying this ban is the conviction that children can concentrate better without a smartphone. It also aims to curb bullying in the schoolyard, which is often filmed and posted on the internet.

Source: www.srf.ch; “News“ International from 31 July 2018

(Translation Current Concerns)

IT-topmanagers know about the dangers of their technology

When Apple’s first tablet just hit the shelves, the journalist Nick Bilton told  Apple co-founder and longtime CEO, Steve Jobs, that his kids would love the iPad. Steve Jobs’ answer initialy left him stunned: “They haven’t used it,” he told him. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”
A number of topmanagers in the technology industry gave him similar information. “Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired and now chief executive of 3D Robotics, a drone maker, has instituted time limits and parental controls on every device in his home. ‘My kids accuse me and my wife of being fascists and overly concerned about tech, and they say that none of their friends have the same rules,’ he said of his five children, 6 to 17. ‘That’s because we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it in myself, I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.’”

Source: Bilton, Nick. Steve Jobs was a Low-Tech Parent. In: “The New York Times” from 10.9.2014