NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - While the average child gets his or her first smartphone at the age of 10, there is a movement of parents who are fighting back by saying 'Wait Until Eighth.' And now there are middle schools creating cell free zones by putting phones 'Away for the Day. '
Parents are doing their best to determine when their child truly needs a smartphone. More than half of middle schools allow cell phones. With increasing rates of anxiety, cyber bullying and depression, many parents want to take back their power. And teach tech responsibility their way. We have all seen this before…. Kids glued to their smart phones at a younger …and younger age. In fact studies show kids as young as 10 on average have cell phones.
While most parents agree with that statement, smart phones are changing their family dynamic many break down and buy it. Societal pressure is one part of the story, but other parents justify the buy saying it’s for school work.
According to Dr. Delaney Ruston, a physician and award-winning documentarian of "Screenagers," a film about growing up in the digital age. Phones insides schools are hurting not helping. 75 percent of teachers report that attention span of their students decreased and 56 percent of eighth graders who use social media report feeling unhappy
But still a majority (56%) of middle schools allow students still carry phones all day. That’s why Ruston has developed 'Away for the Day' a nationwide initiative to help transform middle schools into cell phone free- spaces. But for parents of school aged kids….technology can be a double edged sword. ..many say we cannot overlook the benefits of technology as an educational too. But for these moms….waiting until 8th grade seems like the only solution.
Meet Chris Geraso, Lynda Fisher and Colleen Jacobson. Three Larmont moms who have "rallied together" to create a new movement of children can look to other smartphone-free peers throughout elementary school without feeling any pressure
While the 'Wait until 8th' movement and 'Away for a Day,' could be very helpful to some parents, others say the choice should be up to the individual family to do what’s right for their family dynamic. The 'Wait Until 8th' pledge points to the possibility that smartphones are damaging brain development by interfering with sleep, serving as a distraction from homework, and putting a child at risk for cyber-bullying, but experts say there's little proof smartphones do such damage, as long as parents monitor usage.
Even the Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t advise an exact age for smartphones in its media usage guidelines.