Petition asks parents to "Wait Until 8th" to buy cell phones

Published: Aug. 23, 2017 at 4:37 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2017 at 5:31 PM CDT
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(WVUE) - It's one of the biggest questions facing parents these days; when to get their kids a cell phone. Now, a group of parents behind a nationwide petition are asking parents to "Wait Until 8th".

Cell phones. They're everywhere nowadays.

"We just liked the idea that he could call us if he was going to be late to let us know," parent Sally Rubenstone said.

Parents we polled, varied on what age to give kids a phone.

"He was 10, and he was in 5th grade," Rubenstone said of her son.

Drew Boudoin comments, "My boy is 10, and my little girl is seven and I'd like to hold out, they don't have cell phones."

An online petition called "Wait Until 8th" asks parents to hold out until their child is in at least 8th grade to purchase a phone. The organizers argue phones are addictive and distracting for children and cause social media pressures.

"These moms got together and decided, hey we have this problem with our children, how can we solve it. And I think it's fascinating that they put this grassroots effort together and its blown up since June," Tulane social media professor Ashley Nelson said.

New Orleans mom Kerry Kane says she's heard of the effort.

"I think you have to be very careful and be vigilant as a parent," Kane stated.

LSU psychiatrist Michelle Moore, Psy.D. says there are definite benefits to waiting until a child is 13 or 14 to give them a cell phone. Children with access to phones at younger ages may behave differently than other children their age.

"For some kids, I think it does make them more internalizers, so not interacting with other people. I think it's hard to have a face to face conversation when you're only accustomed to having conversations over cell phone, as a kid," Moore explained.

Moore also says kids will experience the same addictive qualities adults do, constantly checking phones for messages and information. She suggests if you do give your child a phone at a younger age, make sure you monitor it.

"The parent is ultimately the one giving over that power to the child," Moore said.

And she suggests you put limits on how much time the child has on the device.

According to the women behind "Wait Until 8th", the petition has now been signed by parents in 14 states with 40 schools also lending their support.

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