HADDONFIELD, N.J. (CBS) — Attention parents: this one is for you. Do you think your kids might be spending a little too much time in front of a phone, tablet or computer?
It turns out some of the people who invented these products don’t let their kids near them. Do they know something you don’t? People spend hours a week, disengaged with their surroundings, yet laser-focused on their screens.
“I see the way kids are when they own a phone and they’ve just got it out constantly. It’s just all the time and it’s just not what I want for my own kids,” Haddonfield mother Denise Adamczyk told Eyewitness News.
Adamczyk has 9-year-old twin boys. She became concerned about the impact of technology when she read an article about Apple founder, the late Steve Jobs, keeping Apple products away from his own children.
“If the guy who created the technology is not letting his own children use it or use it on a very limited basis, why should I let my children use it,” she said.
She’s in the process of forming a group called Wait Until 8th. It’s a national movement where parents sign a pledge, keeping smartphones, not flip phones, away from their kids until they reach the eighth grade. Adamczyk plans to bring it to Haddonfield and other parts of South Jersey.
“I want them to be able to talk to their friends and play outside and do things that don’t revolve around technology all the time,” she said.
Bill Gates said that he limited the amount of time his daughter could play a video game on a console made by Microsoft. Tim Cook, Apple’s current leader, once said he doesn’t want his nephew on social media.
Lisa Strohman is an attorney and psychologist specializing in technology addiction in children. She has degrees from both Drexel and Villanova and says parents need to pay close attention to their kids’ screen time.
“If you have one child that doesn’t have any social media and you have eight others that do, that one child will have psychological impacts,” Strohman said.
Strohman says it’s not a reason to ignore the problem, just be careful not to take everything away immediately.
“It is essentially the same as coming and pulling away heroin from a heroin addict,” Strohman said.
Adamczyk says her sons will form a group with other friends who took the same pledge.
“Being outside, getting dirty, playing in the dirt, playing with their friends and just general social interaction is just better for their brains. It helps them to develop and that can only benefit them when they get older and out into the real world,” Adamczyk said.
For more about Wait Until 8th, visit https://www.waituntil8th.org/