As a mom with a current 8th grader, the teacher’s perspective in this article very much hits home.  The comparison from 2008 to 2018, with regard to our kids’ access to technology, strikes me as sad and unfortunate.  

There are many reasons to “Wait til 8th” (in case you haven’t heard, it’s actually a movement encouraging families to wait until 8th grade to hand your kid a smartphone) and they include:

~ smartphones are changing our children’s childhood

~ smartphones are addictive

~ smartphones impair sleep

~ smartphones interfere with relationships

And, if these reasons aren’t enough, the issues of anxiety, cyber bullying and academic mediocrity should be raising big, red flags.  Children are not emotionally equipped to navigate tricky social media waters at an early age. Research shows that the more time someone uses social media the more likely they are to be depressed.  Also, when children overuse technology, the constant stimulation of the brain causes the hormone cortisol to rise. Too much cortisol can inhibit a child from feeling calm – the loss of tranquility can lead to serious anxiety disorders.  

The phone has become the most frequently used weapon for cyber bullying.  Research shows that 43% of kids have been bullied online. Only one in 10 victims will inform a parent or a trusted adult in these instances.  

Elementary and middle school years establish the foundation for your child’s academic success.  Children learn how to productively manage time, projects and homework. Introducing a constant distraction with a smartphone is paving a path for academic mediocrity.  Studies show that after a child receives a smartphone the child’s grades are likely to suffer. On the contrary, another study found that children who attend schools with smartphone bans did better on tests.

According to a New York Times article, many technology executives wait until 14 to give their child a smartphone. While some of these children own a flip phone or can make calls from an iPhone, they are not given a data plan until 16. Executives who flourish on the success of this technology are protecting their kids in this way ~ should we not do the same?  

Read the full perspective here.