New 'Wait Until 8th' Smartphone Pledge Is Just the Latest Episode of the Mommy Wars

young kids on cell phones
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We live in an ever-changing world. The days of giant box TVs and "home phones" are long gone, replaced with portable screens that have parents everywhere drawn into constant debate. Whether it comes from pervs on the Internet or dangerous social media trends, we all know the dangers that cell phones can pose to children. Now, a group of proactive moms have launched an anti–cell phone campaign called "Wait Until 8th" that encourages parents to ban smart phones for their kids until at least 8th grade, prompting a whole new round of the mommy wars.

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Mom Brooke Shannon got the inspiration for "Wait Until 8th" after noticing children as young as 6 and 7 with cell phones at her daughter's elementary school.

"A group of parents from my daughter's elementary school in Austin started to discuss the mounting pressure in our community to give children smartphones at an early age," she told Babble. "We questioned why young children needed this technology."

This discussion prompted the creation of the Wait Until 8th campaign, a social movement where parents pledge to hold off on giving their children cell phones until at least the 8th grade. Since its inception, the campaign, which started on Facebook, has become increasingly popular. "More than 1,000 families from 42 states and 400+ schools have signed the pledge already in just the first few months," Shannon claims.

More from CafeMom: How to Know Your Kid is Ready to Own a Smartphone

The campaign's website says a "basic phone" for calls is okay but argues that smartphones are "distracting, dangerous, and detrimental for children." In a black and white world, this might be true. We've all seen the statistics that show the damage excessive smartphone usage can do to young minds. But we've also seen how stressful and guilt-inducing it can be for parents to be constantly judged for their actions when it comes to giving their kids access to tech.

It would be naive to deny just how helpful smartphones can be when you're raising a child. Letting your kid play a few rounds of Candy Crush keeps them out of your hair while you're cooking dinner. And allowing them to carry around a cell phone gives parents peace of mind when it comes to safety outside of the house -- the exact type of phone they carry and the rules they follow when using it really aren't for anyone else to decide.

If you don't want your kids to have a smartphone until they're older, that's totally understandable. But we also have to face the fact that this is 2017, and seeing 10-year-olds with brand-new iPhones is just the reality we live in now. Taking a collective vow to hold off on buying kids a smartphone until a certain age might seem like a smart idea. But there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to deciding how much access to tech is too much, and we shouldn't be judging other parents because of it.

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