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Push to withhold smartphones from children as screen time soars

3AW Mornings

Michael Carr Gregg has called for drastic action to reduce the amount of time children spend on screens.

The leading child psychologist has thrown his support behind a movement urging parents to withhold smartphones from their children.

The Wait Until 8th movement, which began in Texas, calls on parents to band together and make a public promise not to give their children smartphones before they begin high school.

The average Australian child now clocks up six hours of screen time per day, prompting concern about negative impacts on mental health, school performance and sleep quality.

“The link between screen time and adverse outcomes for children, particularly primary school children, is so great that we’re going to have to do something about it,” Dr Carr Gregg told 3AW’s Tony Jones.

“We’ve got record levels of anxiety and depression in particular in that younger age group. We’ve got to do something and I think this is a great idea.”

“I think by banding together this will decrease the pressure on parents… to buy their kids a smartphone.”

Dr Carr Gregg suggested three possible ways to reduce children’s phone usage.

  1. Software filters which block content
  2. Household technology free days
  3. Family phone contracts developed in conjunction with kids

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3AW Mornings