I recently learned about the “Wait Until 8th” pledge and campaign and thought to myself, “I HAVE TO SHARE THIS WITH YOU!” Around the time I learned and read about this campaign, I had a fortuitous impromptu conversation with a neighborly 7th grader. As spoke of the nearing end of the schools year, she lead our discussion about having “a tough year” in middle school because of the drama heavily centered around texts, snapchats, screen shots, Instagram, selfies, etc. I don’t believe in coincidences, so I knew it was important to get this message out.
The campaign “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.”
Intuitively I’ve been on the same personal campaign with my two children as different parents have asked my opinion on this very topic. AS you would imagine and perhaps relate, smartphones have become an unavoidable “Stop Battling & Start Connecting” pain point between parents and their children. Many fellow parents in my circle have thought I’m crazy and even wish me “good luck” on this uphill battle of my own pledge to hold off until freshman year of high school. However, I trust my instincts and thrilled to see that this public campaign is raising eyebrows and turning heads on how parents can come together and take the reigns over this incredibly divisive device that’s coming between parents and their children.
As a parent to a 2nd and 1st grader in public school I already know of fellow children the same age with smartphones, so this is very much present and on my mind as parenting more consciously & mindfully makes its way into every fiber of raising our children.
WHY WAIT? Well, check out this list of 9 REASONS WHY “top Silicon Valley executives are saying no to the smartphone until at least 14 for their children.”
As a fellow parent on this journey, I know it’s not about pointing the finger. Instead, this is a real opportunity to look at ourselves and assess how we’re using and modeling technology. It’s an opportunity, in a concrete way, to apply key qualities of connection that make-up mindful & conscious parenting. As I mentioned, walking a more mindful path takes looking inward – even with something as pervasive in our culture as technology and smart phones. As we flex our “mind-full” muscle, we can start by asking ourselves:
One of the things that neighborly 7th grader said that resonated with me at my core was her heightened self-awareness to say, “if you can hold off on your kids from getting a phone, then I say do it. The 7th graders in my school who don’t have phones are so much happier.”