What the Tech: Kids and phones

Once a child gets a smartphone, it’s nearly impossible to take it back.
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 5:32 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - With all the dangerous content available on smartphones, what keeps a parent from telling their child they cannot have a smartphone? It’s parental peer pressure.

That’s what happened to Brooke Shannon when her elementary child begged for a smartphone saying “But all of my friends have one.”

So Shannon started “Wait Until 8th,” an initiative or plan to encourage parents to all say no, at least until the 8th grade.

“So it gets you through all of elementary school, most of middle school at that point if you want to transition you can, and you’ll have a year before high school,” Shannon said.

I asked Tatania Jordan, chief parenting officer of Bark which has 8 years of research that shows what kids run across when they use phones and social media, if that would help.

“If a certain amount of parents are together at one school or zip code they can truly make a difference, but the problem is a lot of parents are isolated,” Jordan said. “A lot of parents aren’t talking to other parents. We’re operating in isolation as well and that is not powerful.”

Jordan took another step, launching a Facebook group for parents called “Parenting in a tech world” which now has over 300,000 followers.

Once a child gets a smartphone, it’s nearly impossible to take it back. Taking a stand at the beginning may be the best way to protect children from all the things you wish they’d never see.

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