Moms launch campaign to delay giving kids a smartphone

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PHOENIX, AZ — More and more parents are giving their children a smartphone at a younger age.

But some child advocates worry that letting an 8- or 9-year-old kid have a phone before they’re ready could create some serious problems.

Kelly Yunis, of Phoenix, has no problem letting her 10-year-old daughter Samantha borrow her phone.

But she’s not quite ready to let the fifth-grader have a smartphone of her own.

“I really want her to have a phone, but at the same time I want to still kind of protect her,” said Yunis.

The Valley mom is like a lot of parents struggling with the decision about what age is the right age to give their kid a smartphone.

Some mom groups have started a campaign on social media called, “Wait until 8th.”

It asks parents to rally together to delay giving children a smartphone until at least eighth grade, hoping that by banding together it will decrease pressure felt by kids and parents to get a phone at an early age.

Dr. Lisa Strohman is a cyber-psychologist, who specializes in the impact technology has on children.

She said that every child is different, with some more responsible than others.

However, giving a kid free reign on the internet and social media before they’re ready can lead to some serious psychological problems later in life, said Strohman.

“Parents need to know – we call it ACES in psychology – adverse childhood experiences,” said Strohman. “What we find is that kids experiencing those via technology do not share that with their parents because the consequences to that is [sic] that technology will be taken away.”

Other reasons parents should think twice before buying their pre-teen a smartphone are smartphones:

  • Can be addictive
  • Can be an academic distraction
  • Impair sleep
  • Increase risk for anxiety/depression
  • Subject a child to cyber bullying

“There’s no true reason why kids need to have a smartphone,” said Strohman.