Screens and Social Media Facts

The generation of kids and teens growing up today must contend with the constant presence of screens, smartphones and social media at increasingly younger ages. It is unchartered territory for them–and for their parents.

The information below aims to help parents who are struggling to figure out what sorts of limits work best for their families. Our resource guide falls into two categories: the first category attempts to pull together articles and research on the effects of screens and technology on young people’s mental health and wellness. The second category presents different action plans, such as the Wait Till 8th Campaign, that some parents in Pelham have attempted in response to these concerns.

Research and Articles on the Effects of Screen Use and Social Media

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? The Atlantic Monthly
How Evil Is Tech? The New York Times
We Need to Talk About Kids and Smartphones Time Magazine
Smartphone Addiction Could Be Changing Your Brain CNN
How Smartphone Addiction is Affecting Teenagers’ Brains The Daily Mail

What Parents in Pelham are Doing About Screens and Social Media

Wait Till 8th is a national movement that asks parents to take a pledge, vowing to delay buying a smartphone for their child until 8th grade.  The pledge will empower parents to rally together to delay the smartphone at least until 8th grade.  By banding together, this will decrease the pressure within the child’s grade to have a smartphone.

By signing the online pledge, you promise not to give your child a smartphone until at least 8th grade as long as at least 10 other families from your child’s grade and school pledge as well.  Once 10 families have pledged to delay the smartphone, you will be notified that the pledge is in effect!

When parents do find themselves buying a phone for their kids, many are requiring their teens to sign a contract governing their smartphone use, clearly laying out guidelines and expectations for their child’s behavior not only with regard to screen time, but with how they behave on group text, in a social media environment, and on other apps. A popular contract, written by parenting writer Janell Burley Hoffman covers these points and more in her  ‘To My 13-Year-Old Son, an iPhone Contract from Your Mom, With Love‘. Other advocacy groups prefer sharing a set of rules, rather than establishing a contract.