SUMMIT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Making your child wait to get a smartphone could feel impossible, but it might be a huge relief, and many parents are doing it.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, thousands have signed the ‘wait until 8th pledge’ — agreeing not to give their child a smartphone until 8th grade.

Jim Lees and his son Quentin were on their way to get a new cell phone after the 12-year-old accidentally left his in his pocket and put it in the washing machine.

Quentin uses his phone for games, and his sister uses hers for social media.

Lees said it was a family decision to give the kids cell phones.

“Part of it was logistics, activities, taking them here and there, picking them up, coordinating,” he said.

Other families in New Jersey and nationwide are signing up for the ‘wait until 8th pledge.’

“This pledge will help unify parents because it will help them stick to their guns,” parenting expert Tammy Gold said.

The pledge is designed to flip the script on peer pressure. The idea is to get ten other families in your area to sign up so your child is not the only one without a smartphone under the age of 13.

“With a smartphone comes social media, access to viewing things kids don’t need to see,” Gold said.

Some parents said it’s a good idea, but may be unrealistic.

“We were trying to hold off as long as possible, unfortunately, socially that’s how kids communicate,” Danielle Reising said.

Reising recognized the advantages and disadvantages.

“In a town like this, when they come downtown it’s useful because there’s no pay phones left to call to say ‘I’m here, I’m there,” she said.

Christopher only sees the negatives of giving a child a phone too early. He said his nieces and nephews always have their heads down playing on their devices.

“They are wrapped up in the technology and completely unwrapped and void of any social skills,” he said.

Parents are still encouraged to sign the pledge even if their child has a basic flip phone as long as it’s limited to calls or texts.

So far more than 2,000 families have signed the pledge.


Comments (4)
  1. mustcrochet says:

    I work in the cell phone business. There is absolutely NO reason for a child that age to have a smart phone. It’s bad enough that now a phone is a “necessity” at all. It’s time for parents to be PARENTS and not have the mindset that they can be “friends” with their kids. Kids need boundaries and discipline and parents with a backbone that will say NO. I’ve seen parents come in and buy their 13 year old kids $700-800 smart phones and they do not buy insurance. I always recommend insurance or at least a good protective case and a glass screen protector (saved my husband’s phone from a $150 screen repair!). I’ve seen mostly teenage girls say “oh no, the phone is too pretty to cover up with a case!”…. and the clueless parents go right along. A few weeks later, the kid is in the store, sobbing because the screen is fractured and the phone won’t work right and the parents can’t get another phone because they still have to pay the broken one off and they yell at ME. My kids didn’t get phones until they graduated from high school and then they had to pay for them every month. They were flip phones and slider phones back then, but we sure weren’t going to pay for them. Today with families getting the unlimited data plans and having 4-5 phone payments on one bill, some families pay over $300 a month just for phones. That’s crazy. Parents need to stop kowtowing to their kids and start being the mature ones in the family.

  2. Mitch Graves says:

    Not only did we make them wait till they entered college, we made certain they did not use or view other kids media devices, had no access to them in their rooms, or at other ppls homes.
    It is a sad fact that a young boys life can be utterly destroyed in a few minutes of porn viewing. The MSM has covered up the fact that there are abundant studies on this going back many decades. We were so intent on keeping our children’s minds clear of all that evil that we home schooled them and previewed all they watched on TV. Their TV and comp game time was earned by equal amounts of time spent reading extra curricular lit which we also approved to make sure it had substance.
    All were reading kids books by age three at the latest and have graduated college with at least McL and not in goofy fields. One had Mech Engineering Masters at 21.
    Even when they got into college they got not data.
    And ALL of them thanks us repeatedly for doing this for them and tell us they will do the very same for their kids.
    The fact is that every second on a cell is lost time. Wasted, unredemptive and bad for the kid EVEN if porn is not the issue there is no upside whatever to this handy little device that shortens their attention span and cripples their brain function.. As far as we can tell from over 40 yrs of research, only public schools represent a worse influence than the pervasive media. And they can’t really be separated.Home schooled kids have been tested over and over and found to be MUCH MORE socially adept and they average 1 to two grades more advance than PRIVATE schooled kids. And private schooled kids average 1 to 2 grades above public. As any idiot can deduce, social skills are largely about how secure the child is about who he or she is. Kids who in public school are generally far less secure because of peer pressure etc.
    Your kids may wine about your rules from time to time but just show them the ignorance and foolishness of their non home schooled peers and they will start quickly to appreciate what you are doing for them. We traveled all over the US for our kids sport and they met thousands of the pub school peers. They would come back to us and whisper, “Wow, these kids don’t know about….(fill in almost any subject)!”

  3. Brett Reefer says:

    Wait until they can pay for it themselves.

  4. What world am I living in? Since when does the media decide what’s good for your child? I never bought my kids cellphones or computers…I will never have to worry about my kids both hold great jobs own their homes and married great partners..Why be a parent if you don’t really want the job?

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