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Parents Sign Pledge To Wait Until 8th Grade To Give Kids Smartphones

SUMMIT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Making your child wait to get a smartphone could feel impossible, but it might be a huge relief, and many parents are doing it.

As CBS2's Meg Baker reported, thousands have signed the 'wait until 8th pledge' -- agreeing not to give their child a smartphone until 8th grade.

Jim Lees and his son Quentin were on their way to get a new cell phone after the 12-year-old accidentally left his in his pocket and put it in the washing machine.

Quentin uses his phone for games, and his sister uses hers for social media.

Lees said it was a family decision to give the kids cell phones.

"Part of it was logistics, activities, taking them here and there, picking them up, coordinating," he said.

Other families in New Jersey and nationwide are signing up for the 'wait until 8th pledge.'

"This pledge will help unify parents because it will help them stick to their guns," parenting expert Tammy Gold said.

The pledge is designed to flip the script on peer pressure. The idea is to get ten other families in your area to sign up so your child is not the only one without a smartphone under the age of 13.

"With a smartphone comes social media, access to viewing things kids don't need to see," Gold said.

Some parents said it's a good idea, but may be unrealistic.

"We were trying to hold off as long as possible, unfortunately, socially that's how kids communicate," Danielle Reising said.

Reising recognized the advantages and disadvantages.

"In a town like this, when they come downtown it's useful because there's no pay phones left to call to say 'I'm here, I'm there," she said.

Christopher only sees the negatives of giving a child a phone too early. He said his nieces and nephews always have their heads down playing on their devices.

"They are wrapped up in the technology and completely unwrapped and void of any social skills," he said.

Parents are still encouraged to sign the pledge even if their child has a basic flip phone as long as it's limited to calls or texts.

So far more than 2,000 families have signed the pledge.


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