AUSTIN, Texas (NBC) – The realization that kids as young as first and second graders were using smartphones convinced Brooke Shannon that her three daughters should grow up a little more old school.
“There were so many children in our elementary school that were going through the day with their heads down instead of their heads up,” Shannon says.
The Austin, Texas mother was concerned about cyber-bullying, as well as the impact of too much screen time on developing brains.
In response she started a movement called “Wait Until 8th” in which families pledge to hold off giving their children smartphones until at least 8th grade.
“It really takes the pressure off, I think, for a mom and for a dad to not have this daily debate or weekly debate on when their child gets a phone,” Shannon says.
The tech-free idea went viral, and now 20,000 families in all 50 states have taken the pledge.
Shannon acknowledges that some families need devices to communicate for medical reasons or custody arrangements, so she encourages lower tech options like an older flip phone when possible.