Hatfield Public Schools encouraging parents to postpone smartphone use for kids

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HATFIELD (WWLP) – Hatfield Public Schools are encouraging parents to postpone the use of smartphones for their kids.

The school district is taking the “Wait Until 8th” pledge which encourages parents to delay the smartphone. The pledge empowers parents to rally together to delay giving children a smartphone until at least 8th grade.

It’s hard to tell students to wait,” Superintendent of Hatfield schools, John Robert said. “There is so much pressure for students to get smartphones which are really minicomputers. It takes them away from being kids.”

According to a Nielsen report released in 2017, nearly 45 percent of U.S. children between the ages of 10-12 had their own smartphone with a service plan.  

Since many children spend anywhere between three to seven hours daily in front of a screen, which means many childhood essentials like playing outside or reading a book are pushed aside for online amusement. 

“I think it’s a case by case situation,” Jess Thayer of Easthampton said. “Parents know their children and how much responsibility they have. Obviously, technology is not something we can get away from, and we need to learn and teach our children how to use it properly.”

More than 500 schools across the country are taking part in this campaign. Hatfield schools superintendent wants to make sure phones don’t become a distraction in the classroom and in everyday life.  

“We will give them the technology they need to learn in school and as far as you need to reach your kids we have phones, and if they need to call you we will make sure they can call,” Robert said.

The school district is also looking for participants to be a part of a social media campaign to spread the word to delay smartphones for kids. 

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