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20,000 sign pledge to not give kids smartphones until 8th grade

Parents in all 50 states have signed the 'Wait Until 8th' pledge that a Texas mother started two years ago.

Editor's note: The video above was first published in September 2017 after the initiative was launched.

An online initiative to get parents from giving smartphones to their kids until they reach 8th grade has reached a new milestone.

It's called "Wait Until 8th," started by an Austin, Texas, mother in 2017. The movement said it reached 20,000 pledges in March from people in all 50 states.

Brooke Shannon started it after noticing that so many kids in elementary school already had smartphones and that the devices were distracting.

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"Instead of playing with friends, hanging out with family, enjoying a good book, they're spending hours and hours Instagraming, YouTubing, Snapchatting and really missing out on key elements on childhood,” Shannon told KVUE in 2017. "If you're spending that much time on the phone there's only so many hours in the day, what's getting lost, like what is getting sacrificed.”

You can join the pledge here, but note that it will not go into effect until at least 10 families from your child's grade and school make the pledge. That way, there will be less pressure on one child to have a smartphone. They will know other kids in their grade won't have one, either.

It also means less pressure on parents.

"All of us know we don't want our children to have a phone, but no one wants to be the first person who says it,” Courtney Moss, a mother of three who signed the pledge, said back in 2017.

Pledge organizers note that parents who still want to give their kids a phone before 8th grade in order to keep in touch can buy a basic phone that just makes calls and does text messaging.