The smartphone debate picks up

The smartphone debate picks up

This week I’ve been running my kids around to baseball camp and hockey camp. I keep getting stuck in construction delays or postponed due to traffic accidents. I end up sitting there in a panic watching my clock count up to the time when my kids are expecting me to pick them up. I can feel myself start to perspire. I imagine my children crying as they wait, wondering if I’m ok or if I’ve forgotten them.

Then it hit me: if they had an iPod or a used cell phone, I could let them know if I’m running late. That would decrease their anxiety and mine. I haven’t done the research yet, but apparently you can get them a sim card or phone number so they can text me during an emergency and vice versa.

They are only seven and eight at the moment, and while I’m afraid they could be too young to handle the responsibility, it’s left me wondering how young is too young?

One group has an answer. I came across a campaign started by one Texas mom who is getting schools across the US to band together and commit to not getting their kids a smartphone until 8th grade.

Called Wait Unti 8th (, the campaign already has 2,000 pledges in 500 schools across 49 states. The pledge is for smartphones only and doesn’t apply to flip phones or children who need it for specific reasons, such as joint-custody arrangements or those who rely on phones for medical reasons.

Ultimately, it’s an individual decision and parents should make the choice that’s right for their families.

So what are your thoughts on giving kids a smartphone or low-tech version?


Reply to
  • Maielle

    That's a tough one. I have been able to avoid getting smart phones for my kids who are in elementary school, but the pressure is not just from other kids, schools have been introducing "bring your own device" in classes that is making it even more difficult to delay the introduction. 

    • cloclo

      There is not one "parenting" method that is good for every child and I think that each parent knows his kid best and should be able to take the right decision accordingly.  Therefore I am rarely in favor of imposing or restricting at large (unless we are talking about something that is clearly dangerous). 

      You know your boys. Why don't you do a trial period and see how it goes? Why not a little pager that can receive texts so that you can tell your boys that you'll be late? 

      Just go with what feels right for you and your kids.  

      • MyForever

        At one point I frowned when I saw kids Grade 8 and under with cell phones. My daughter is also 8 and last year I thought about getting her a cell phone only to use for emergency or if we were late picking her up from school or extracurricular. Seven eleven has speak out prepaid phone cards you can get where you can text or use voice calls, and I have seen cheap unlocked 'dumb' phones on amazon where it is just for calls and texts. I know we never needed phones when we were in school but nowadays kids have to do drills in case a crazy person comes in their school.  I think for a $20 prepaid card and $20 phone, the kid should have a phone for just in case. Of course we would teach them to be responsible with it.