Metro mom spearheads local movement to ‘Wait Until 8th’ to give kids smartphones

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If you've ever struggled over the right age to give your kid a smart phone, some local experts have an answer: It's the eighth grade.

That's according to a local mom who's starting a grassroots movement on kids and smart phones. Fox 4 also talked to a tech expert who compared the damaging effects of smart phones and young, growing brains to street drugs.

Four-year-old Anni is amazed by goats, and she loves painting rainbows and playing Jenga with her brother and sisters.

It's precious childhood snapshots like those that inspired her mom, Krista Boan, to make a bold pledge when it comes to her kids and smart phones.

"Basically you`re just saying I`m going to give it my best shot to hold out in giving my kid a smart phone," Boan said.

She heard about a movement called "Wait Until 8th." She signed the online parent pledge but feared her kids would be the only ones without a phone when seventh, sixth or even fifth grade rolled around.

So she started a local "Wait Until 8th" Facebook group -- and within two months, 900 other parents signed up.

"When you can do it with the community, then you don't feel alone, and your kid won't feel as alone," Boan said.

She has grave concerns about the effect of smart phones on young minds, and she's far from alone.

Burton Kelso works in the tech industry, and he believes a preteen mind exposed to the instant gratification of a smartphone with apps and games can do serious, longterm damage.

Boan's oldest is 10 years old. She realizes she can't protect her four children from high-tech forever. But she's hoping if she can "hold the phone," at least until eighth grade.

So her children can be kids a little longer.

"The more time they are on phones the less time they are engaging in things like creativity and conflict resolution," she said.

If you'd like to sign the pledge, it's easy to find. just check out WaitUntil8th.org. You can also join the local Facebook group.