Why is there a growing debate over kids getting smartphones?
As most parents know, kids are asking for their own smartphones at younger ages.
According to a 2019 report by Common Sense Media, 53 percent of kids have a smartphone by the age of 11. By the time they hit 16, that number hits 89 percent.
And smartphones have increasingly become necessary for tweens and teens when it comes to everything from school work to social lives.
Schools that once banished the devices are now incorporating them into everyday classwork. And most parents are familiar with the proliferation of group texts.
But that doesn’t mean all parents are going with the flow.
A nonprofit called “Wait Until 8th” encourages parents to not hand over smartphones until the last year of middle school. The goal is to lessen the chance of smartphone addiction while not socially isolated teens.
So far 40,000 parents have taken the pledge.
There is a science to back up these parental concerns.
A study using data from the National Institutes of Health found more screen time among kids was associated with worse mental health, increased behavioral problems, decreased academic performance, and poorer sleep.
But the study also found that increased screen time heightened the quality of peer relationships. All this leaves parents with few easy answers.