Working together to delay smartphones

On average, we are spending four – five hours a day on our mobile devices. That’s more than a full day a week!

Despite overwhelming data showing that smartphones are harming children, this addiction continues to grow, with over half of 8-11 year olds in the UK having their own smartphone.

Media regulator Ofcom says one in five toddlers in the UK, as young as three or four years old, own a smartphone.

What can be done?

It’s not too late to make a difference!

The first children who were given smartphones in primary school are now adults, and we know now that for every year younger they were exposed to smartphones, the worse their mental health is today. 

Armed with this knowledge and the resources available today, we hope to encourage parents to delay giving smartphones to their children, or support them to spend less time on these addictive devices.

About Rob

Rob is a Chartered Psychologist who specialises in helping organisations and individuals build resilience, improve mental health and sustain high performance.

He is one of the lead psychologists at Cognacity, a leading organisation of global experts in mental health and performance. Rob now provides training, coaching and consultancy for a wide range of clients including financial and professional services and elite sporting teams.

Rob lives with his young family on the Olympic Park in London, and is passionate about the movement to delay smartphones.

Research that smartphone use is harming our children's...

...physical health
...mental and emotional health
...focus and brain changes
...social skills and development
  • Children with smartphones spend longer in a virtual world without human interaction
  • The quality of family relationships and friendships decreases for every year younger a child is given a smartphone
  • The daily average of 5-8 hours adds up to 1,000 to 2,000 hours a year that would otherwise be spent in face-to-face social interactions, learning and mastering these important skills and building strong relationships
...sexual behaviour and content

Research that smartphone use is harming our children's...

...physical health
...mental and emotional health
...focus and brain changes
...social skills and development
  • Children with smartphones spend longer in a virtual world without human interaction
  • The quality of family relationships and friendships decreases for every year younger a child is given a smartphone
  • The daily average of 5-8 hours adds up to 1,000 to 2,000 hours a year that would otherwise be spent in face-to-face social interactions, learning and mastering these important skills and building strong relationships
...sexual behaviour and content

Alternatives to smartphones

Dumb phones

Old phones or ‘dumb phones’ are a great alternative to delay the use of smartphones. They offer essential telephone functions such as calls and text, and provide a simpler and less addictive user experience with no access to the internet, social media, or email.

Options include:

  1. Nokia 3310
  2. Gabb Phone3 Pro
  3. The Light Phone II
Weenect

Trackers

Although not always recommended for this use, GPS trackers are a simple way of monitoring only the location of your child when they are away from the house.  These devices ping the location back to an app on a parent’s smartphone and can be useful especially when children are venturing out alone for the first time.

Options include:

  1. Weenect
  2. Jiobit
  3. Apple AirTag

Smartwatches

These wearable devices are specifically designed for children, they are paired with a smartphone app on a parents phone and usually allow calls and messages between a small number of parent approved numbers. They also include GPS tracking and perhaps most importantly, health features that promote physical activity and fitness.

Options include:

  1. Kidsnav
  2. Xplora
  3. imoo

Resources for parents

Here are some of our favourite resources to support parents and carers who are keen to find out more about delaying the use of smartphones for their children.

Reflecting on the psychological, social and physical consequences of a phone-based childhood, the author of the perennially bestselling The Righteous Mind delivers an eye-opening examination into the causes of the current mental health epidemic among young people.

Smartphone Free Childhood is a parent-led movement on a mission to protect millions of children from the dangers of using smartphones too young.

Delay Smartphones began as a pilot campaign for three Edinburgh Primary Schools at the end of 2023.

They are now supporting other schools and parents across the country, and would welcome pledges from any parent ready to make this commitment!

Resources for ourselves

It’s not only our children who are being harmed by excessive smartphone use, here are some resources which we can use to help ourselves spend less time on smartphones and more time on what really matters.

Conquer your phone addiction in just 30 days, and discover a happier, healthier and more fulfilled you.

Creative ideas from bemorewithless to help you spend less time on your smartphone.

Use the world’s best app & website blocker. Join millions of amazing people who use Freedom to manage their screen time and live happier, healthier, and more productive lives.

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