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Smart phone free childhood

Working together towards a Smartphone-free childhood

Having a smartphone and using it regularly throughout the day, every day, has become an integral part of our lives and routines (even though at some point we have probably all thought we should spend less time scrolling!). Now more and more children are getting smartphones and using them from a young age.

As a parent / guardian / carer, have you ever thought “do they really need a phone now?” or felt worried about why they may use it, what they might access, how much time they spend on it, or if it is harmful?

Many parents have these concerns when deciding whether or not to give their children a smartphone. Now there is also growing evidence which shows that Smartphone use in childhood has damaging negative mental and physical effects on long-term health.

Making a change:

We are a group of St. Martin’s parents who feel passionately about trying to protect our children’s childhoods and future health by delaying the age of when they get their own smartphone. We believe this should be at least age 14. We have joined an online community called Smartphone Free Childhood, which is expanding across the country’s parent network every day.

The community believe that the main reason any child feels they need a smartphone is because everyone else has one. There are alternative solutions to most of the other reasons given, but if a majority of parents agree to delay, then together we can create a movement which removes so much of this peer pressure.

We know that some children in our school have smartphones already (and we are not here to question or judge others!) but we are striving to build a collective of parents who would prefer to delay this.

We are also working with the school to:

  • Raise awareness of the new evidence relating to the risks
  • Support parents to understand how to keep our children safe online, and to look at how our own phone usage impacts our children.


So what are the risks? Some of the facts:

For years we didn’t have full understanding or evidence, but now we know:

For every year younger that a child gets a smartphone, the greater the negative effect on their longterm mental health[1]

Time children spend socialising daily with friends as decreased 65% in a decade2
There is a world-wide decade long downward trend in academic achievement linked to smartphone usage3
90% of girls and 50% of boys say they and their peers are sent explicit pictures or videos of things they do not want to see4
A recent Ofcom report of children aged 8-17 showed that all children have been exposed to violence online and see it as inevitable
36% of children aged 8-17 said they had seen something ‘worrying or nasty’ online in the past 12 months5
What’s next?

We will be sending out a survey to gather all parent’s thoughts on smartphone usage for children. We will use your answers from this to create a school pledge that we hope many parents will feel empowered to sign. We also plan to reach out to other schools in the area.

What can you do?

Please join our group using this link or by scanning the QR code here to find out more.

If you’d like to speak to some of the parents working on this, please email the school office who will put you in touch with us! Let us know if you would like to be a “Delay smartphones” class rep.

*Yes we know there’s an irony to using What’s App to collaborate on this - but it can also be accessed on a computer ☺




[2] Jonathan Haidt presentation through Smartphone Free Childhood

[3] The wisest investment in your child is not giving them a smartphone - New Statesman