NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Thousands of parents all over the country are taking a pledge to wait to give their child a smartphone.
At just 7 years old, Felix is coloring with his mom, instead of playing games on a smartphone, reports CBS News’ Hilary Lane.
Some of his first-grade friends already have their own phones, but not Felix.
“They’re very interested from a young age and I feel like they’re not developed enough yet to understand the implications of putting things up online,” Nilopher Naqvi, Felix’s mother, said.
Naqvi, along with the parents of some of Felix’s classmates, signed the Wait Until 8th pledge, committing to wait until the 8th grade to give their child a smartphone.
“I just think it’s a really innovative approach,” said Naqvi.
“I think it is hard for parents to hold the line on this,” said Brooke Shannon, the mother of three and mind behind the pledge who reacted to seeing the effect phones had on her kids’ friends.
“One day I drove by the middle school and kids were flooding out and all their heads were down and they were completely oblivious to the world around them,” she said.
Studies have shown too much screen time can lead to lower test scores and hurt the development of memory and language skills.
Shannon says that’s a big reason why more than 20,000 people have signed the pledge online in the past two years.
“There were so many parents out there that wanted to hold off on this very important decision,” said Shannon.
The pledge only covers smartphones.
Parents who still want an easy way get in touch with their child can purchase older model flip phones and most carriers offer a plan without data.
There are also devices like the Gizmo Watch. It provides location tracking and allows kids to receive calls from pre-approved phone numbers.
Naqvi realizes the pledge will become more challenging as Felix gets older.
“It’s very very tough to say no,” said Naqvi.
She says she’s committed to holding off on that smartphone until he hits the eighth grade.
For more about the Wait Until 8th pledge, see waituntil8th.org.