Organization wants parents to wait until 8th grade to give kids a smart phone

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Studies say on average a kid gets their first smart phone at age 10, but an organization called “Wait Until 8th” is hoping to increase that age.

"Over the last couple years we've definitely noticed that there's a more of a demand for younger and younger kids to get the latest and greatest smart phones," said Michael Schumacher, store manager for the Cellcom store on Mason Street in Green Bay, "so we've definitely seen that trend over the last couple of years for sure."

Brooke Shannon, a founder of Wait Until 8th, got the idea seeing parents pressured to get their kids smart phones at a young age.

"Some statistics say kids spend between four and seven hours a day on screens, instead of using that time on screens, they could use it to go out and play, to read books or do puzzles, and to hang out in person with their friends," Shannon says.

"Specifically smart phones, I think at an early age, I see kids as early as kindergarten to 4K with smart phones, and it’s fairly ubiquitous, meaning you know they're everywhere, everyone has them," said Tom Hoh, Executive Director of Secondary Schools for Green Bay Area Public School District.

The “Wait Until 8th” pledge does not eliminate all cell phones. Although the pledge suggests parents don't get their kids smart phones before eighth grade, they are still allowed to provide their kids with basic flip phones to call and text.

"What we see, oftentimes the trouble we have with phones, aside from texting in class and those things, we see kids accessing social media sites and interacting in negative ways with each other using their smart phones," said Hoh.

The Wait Until 8th pledge campaign started in March and now has more than 2,100 families from 49 states and 500 schools participating.

Shannon hopes the pledge creates a support system of parents in every school to let kids be kids a little longer.

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