Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS SMART FAMILIES?
Smart Families is a non-profit organization that works directly with families, school district leaders, school administration and teachers to implement a pledge and educational program for families to wait until after eighth grade to give children smartphones.
Our organization will provide all the educational, promotional and organizational tools needed for staff and families to successfully change the culture in their communities.
WHY SIGN THE SMART PLEDGE?
The pledge creates a unified community at your school with common expectations for both children and parents. We can prevent the physiological manipulation of their developing brains and reduce the known consequences of addiction, anxiety, depression, cyberbullying, and dopamine dumps. At the same time, we are preserving our kids’ childhood and their human dignity.
WHY AFTER 8TH GRADE?
A key element for making this successful is the same expectations for the whole school community. Typically, schools are PK-8 or middle schools are 6-8.
WE ARE ALREADY PLANNING TO WAIT TO GIVE OUR CHILD(REN) SMARTPHONES. WHY SIGN THE SMART PLEDGE?
This isn’t just about you. The purpose of the Smart Pledge is to stand up and proudly let others in our community know that you are waiting and that there is plenty of support for anyone else who plans to delay giving their children a smartphone until after 8th grade. Practically, we know that most parents think they will wait when their kids are young and then succumb to the incrementalism of technology creep and peer pressure as their children grow older.
CAN I STILL SIGN THE SMART PLEDGE IF I GET MY CHILD A “DUMB” PHONE?
Absolutely! The pledge is for smartphones only. We understand some families still need the capability of contacting their child, especially as they get older. If you would like your child to have a “dumb” phone that just calls and texts, you still can sign the pledge.
WHAT IS CONSIDERED A SMARTPHONE?
A mobile phone that performs many of the functions of a computers including access to the internet and apps.
WE ALREADY HAVE A TABLET. ISN’T THAT JUST THE SAME THING AS A SMARTPHONE?
While smartphones and tablets have many of the same capabilities (and inherent problems), the big difference is the extreme portability of the smartphone. Children do not need unfiltered access to the internet 24-hours a day.
Smart Families is not asking you to give up your technology. It’s a program to help parents and their children make more educated and safer decisions surrounding technology use. By delaying giving our children smartphones we are creating a hardline in one area of technology and hope this is just a jumping off point to reflect on your overall technology use.
WHAT IF MY CHILD ALREADY HAS A SMARTPHONE?
It’s okay to change your mind! Remember, you choose to give your child a smartphone every day. Now that your school is participating in the Smart Families program you can let your child know that you are excited about this new program and have learned that it’s better to be older before you have a smartphone. You can share that many families at the school are choosing to delay giving their children smartphones and others like you are taking a break from smartphones. You can always replace your child’s smartphone with a “dumb” phone with no internet access if you think it would be too hard to go back to no phone.
WHAT ARE SOME SMARTPHONE ALTERNATIVES?
There are a great number of phones available that will allow you to remain in contact with your child when needed. Some that you can consider include: Bark, Gabb, WisePhone, Light Phone, Punkt, Troomi and Pinewheel. Verizon offers the Orbic Journey & TLC flip phone. When considering a basic phone for a family member, be sure to research if the phone you have selected can transfer an exisisting phone number from your provider. It is a great way to keep consistency.