How Schools Are Promoting Wait Until 8th

I recently had the pleasure of speaking in Danville, CA to a great group of parents at Green Valley Elementary. Concerned about the recent research indicating the negative impact of smartphones on kids, the talk’s organizers had taken the Wait Until 8th pledge and encouraged other parents to join in.

The pledge has parents agree not to get their kids smartphones at least until 8th grade. And showing how to build community in the modern age, the pledge doesn’t become active until 10 parents from a child’s grade and school have also taken the pledge. 

Photo: Highwaystarz-Photography/istock

Every day in my practice, I work with kids whose smartphone obsessions are cutting them off from family and wreaking havoc on their school success. And too often, I see kids who threaten to hurt themselves or become violent when parents attempt to set even modest phone limits–police involvement or psychiatric hospitalization are not uncommon consequences. Not surprisingly, leading tech execs like Bill and Melinda Gates aren’t getting kids smartphones until 14 years of age. 

This East Bay Times article highlights Danville parents’ involvement with Wait Until 8th as well as my talk and recommendations for good smartphone choices for kids. 

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  1. Pat says:


    This is a super important topic that I’m happy to see you have covered. I think the biggest problem to figure out is how to change the teens’ behavior. This is obviously no easier task; since when has it been easy to reason with a teenager? But, all the same, technology will only continue progressing and we need to discover new alternatives for teenagers to engage with so that they don’t get trapped down the virtual rabbit hole. Thanks for writing about this!


    • Richard Freed says:

      Thank you for your message. Yes, leading tech execs such as Steve Job and Bill and Melinda Gates, pushed back the ages in getting their own kids’ tech, e.g., the Gates’ kids didn’t get phones until 14, and yet, the average age when kids get smartphones is down to 10. Hopefully, parents will start looking to how tech execs raise their own rather that what’s been sold to them as normal.

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