faqs.

General questions about the campaign

Why have you picked the age 14 to delay?

This number is based on data and research and the work of Zach Rausch and Jon Haidt at NYU.* The age to delay is at least 14 as the lowest baseline. Even at this point, this is a smartphone that is highly restricted. Many of our parents have decided to delay the smartphone until the end of high school.

Currently the collective mindset is already stretched at 14, we believe this must be done in stages. The age of consent was originally 12, then 13 and then 16.

*they have the biggest global research of children’s mental health in relation to smartphone and social media use in English speaking countries by pulling together multiple studies. Here is a link to one study.

What about social media?

We don’t recommend giving your child social media at all, however if you feel that this is something that is right for your child we do not recommend it before the age of 16, again based on the research.

What are your goals with this campaign?

We want it to be normal for children to be free from smartphones, we want every child to know other children without smartphones and every parent to know other parents who are also choosing to delay. By the end of 2024 we aim to have Volunteer Ambassadors in every primary school in the UK. We know that sustained change is only possible when communities do this together.

As parents aren’t we just being bad role models?

It’s good to be mindful of our own phone use, particularly in front of our children. We recommend having screen free days and leaving phones behind sometimes when you go out. Charge your phone out of your bedroom at night and leave them away from the dinner table.

Shouldn't we be campaigning to make the tech companies accountable?

Yes, but this isn’t either or. We need awareness amongst parents of the harmfull effects of smartphones and awareness of the alteratives. We need more regulation of the tech companies and in particular social media companies. We need government policies and regulations too.

What government policies do you want?
– A nationwide ban on phones in schools*  with phone lockers and pouches so they are not accessible during the day.
– Ban of social media for children under 16 years old.
* Exemptions are considered and may be approved by Head Teachers on a case-by-case basis where:
  • the student uses their device to monitor or manage a medical condition
  • the device is an agreed adjustment for a student with disability or learning difficulties
  • the device is used for translation by a student with English as an additional language
  • the student has extenuating personal circumstances requiring more immediate access to their device, such as being the primary carer for a child or family member

Common fears about delaying

“For children with divorced parents, aren’t smartphones a necessity?”

Kids can communicate with each parent on a simple phone and use an iPad for Facetime calls if required.

“Can’t we just use a stripped back iPhone with parental controls?”

Unfortunately parental controls are incredibly easy to bypass. It takes a lot of intentional, consistent effort. It is difficult and constantly changing. Why take the risk when everything we need them to have can be done on a simple phone.

“But my child needs a smartphone for train tickets and bus trackers!”

Actually they don’t, yes these things can make life a little more convenient. We have to weigh up the benefits and risks. Smartphones are causing considerable harm to children so is that convenience really our top priority? It would be more convenient if my daughter would drive herself to gymnastics but I don’t think any parent would consider that.

“This will never work, smartphones are essential in our lives now.”

For adults, this may be the case, but not for children. Everything we need from a smartphone for our kids can be done with alternative devices/phone. It will and it is working, we have insight parents didn’t have 10 years ago, we owe to our children and all children to make the right choice. People were sure that child prostitution could never be stopped in Victorian times when the age of consent was 12. As our knowledge changes so does our behaviour, we can and we must make a better choice for our children.

“That's how they communicate now!”

Yes, with devastating effects. We’ve all seen teenagers sitting next to each other who are choosing online social interaction over in person even when they are with their friends! In ten short years we’ve gone from a childhood based on play to a childhood based on phones. That first generation of children who have been given smartphones before high school are noe experiencing the harmful effects and are begging us not to make the same mistake.

“They can’t be the only ones without one or they’ll be left out!”

Firstly, so make sure they aren’t the only ones if this is something that’s important to you. Get the word out and get your child’s friend’s parents to commit to delaying too.

Secondly,what is the message we are sending to our child about peer pressure? If everyone else is doing it, you should too? Will be buy kids vapes then?

“But they need independence, this is part of growing up”

Yes, however this independence can be gained with an alternative like a watch or basic phone.

“But they will miss out on WhatsApp groups with their friends”

We believe and the research shows that Whatsapp groups are doing more harm than good, however if you really want your child to be in a Whatsapp group this can be accessed on an iPad or computer at home.

“But we promised them…”

Sometimes as parents it’s okay to change your mind, especially if you have new information about something being harmful to your child. We recommend that you talk this through with your child and after offering them an alternative to the smartphone incentivising them with something you see fit eg. the money for a smartphone being invested in their savings account, etc.

“But their older siblings have them”

Sometimes as parents it’s okay to change your mind, especially if you have new information about something being harmful to your child. We recommend that you talk this through with your child and after offering them an alternative to the smartphone incentivising them with something you see fit eg. the money for a smartphone being invested in their savings account, etc.

want to get your community on board?

 Become a Volunteer Ambassador!

There are over 20,000 primary schools across the UK, we urgently need people across the country sharing the research and alternatives.

We will give you training, support and materials to create an impact in your community.

Click here to register your interest as an ambassador.

 

Young girl with smartphone