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IssuesMy daughter is 10—the average age children receive a smartphone

My daughter is 10—the average age children receive a smartphone

This story was written by Brooke Shannon and originally appeared on Wait Until 8th.

My youngest daughter turns 10 today.

10 is the average age children receive a smartphone.

There is no phone for my love to unwrap today though. Snapchat, BeReal, TikTok and Instagram will have to wait too.

Instead, she will delight in a new board game, some fun toys, cute clothes and delicious chocolates for her sweet tooth.

When my oldest daughter turned 10 five years ago, we had decided earlier that year to delay the smartphone until at least 8th grade.

Related: Pink’s daughter can’t have a cell phone until she provides proof that social media is good for kids

We were worried about how much a smartphone was deleting the magic of childhood one scroll and swipe at a time. We wanted our daughters’ childhoods to look different.

We also were concerned about the academic distraction phones bring to the table, cyberbullying, the increased anxiety and depression among tween girls, and the access to inappropriate content.

So, we waited. And we waited with some friends by rallying some other families to join us with the Wait Until 8th pledge.

Related: There’s a potential bill to ban children from social media, and as a mother, I’m all for it

We waited in elementary school. We waited when a huge group of kids got smartphones for middle school. And we even waited through 8th grade after concluding she still did not need one.

Through the waiting, we talked.

We talked about cyberbullying, sexting and pornography. I shared articles and stories with her about the detrimental impact social media is having on children especially girls.

We talked about how so many girls were using filtering apps like Facetune to look thinner, prettier and even sexier at the age of 12. We talked about how constantly editing pictures of yourself can influence your body image and self esteem.

We talked about how a student in our community was blackmailed for sharing nude pictures over Snapchat.

We talked about how teens were dying across the country from buying drugs laced with Fentanyl on social media.

Related: TikTok’s ‘Mom Friend’ shares how to talk about technology with kids

We talked about how certain friendships were strained after a friend got a new phone or was completely consumed by Instagram.

We talked how tech companies make their platforms addictive after we watched the “Social Dilemma” together.

Every one of those talks was important and there is no way they could have happened by the time she was 10. We needed that time.

When the time came, she was ready. She received a phone before high school started a couple of months ago. We have started slowly with no games, no social media, no internet browser and no app store. She can call, text, listen to music and communicate with her coaches and teammates on a few sport apps necessary for high school athletics. That is it.

Related: How to talk about technology with kids

We will follow the same path with my youngest. We will sing her “Happy Birthday” today and keep the conversation going to prepare her for a device she will not get for almost 5 years. We are thankful for the time we have ahead free of the distractions and dangers that come with a smartphone. We are thankful some of her friends are waiting with her, too.

Join us with the Wait Until 8th pledge!

Delay the smartphone. Rally some friends to join you in taking the Wait Until 8th pledge. There is strength in numbers!

If you need to get in touch before 8th grade, consider a basic phone (we have some options in our Instagram story highlight @waituntil8th and on our website under devices).

Consider delaying social media until at least 16.

If your kid has a phone already, make it less of a toy and more of a communication device. Through parental controls, remove the access to the internet browser. Take off the social media apps. Kick gaming off of the device. Basically, let them call, text, FaceTime and listen to music or books. Ensure it stays this way by disabling your child’s ability to download apps without your permission. We have step by step instructions here.

Create space for your kids and their friends to be together WITHOUT their phones. Designate a basket to collect all the phones at the beginning of a gathering. This makes a huge difference!

Parents, you’ve got this! If you want to see a difference in how your kids grow up in this insanely connected culture, you have to be the difference.

This story was written by Brooke Shannon and originally appeared on Wait Until 8th.

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