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"I lost my son, indirectly, because of cell phones. He was the victim of a predator. I tried hard to limit his phone usage, but always ran into two problems. First, the blackmarkets sells of phones at schools. Even a old phone, without active service, can be used to access the web, therefore all social media. Two, there are no phones to buy, that can only be used as a phone. I understand the reasons parents who support cell phones have, but they have not yet experienced to evil side. I pray no other parent is left with only memories and pictures, as I am. Kids lack the maturity to deal with to ugly side of cell phone use age. Some kids have emotion or mental issues making them more easily targeted. And the bullying that occurs because of phones......a girl was convicted of manslaughter three days ago, because of how she used her phone. Parents should have options, and at the moment, there are none." - Grieving mom
"My two boys (ages 9 and 12), last year their school insisted that everyone get ipads , later the same year we found out that all of the boys in the school were watching really graphic pornograhy, it's terrible, it's a christian school "
C. P. Denver, CO
I am a child psychiatrist in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and work at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). We regularly see cases of technology addiction. More and more of our scarce health resources are now being devoted to getting kids (and families) off the technology that is being rammed down their throats in school, homes and public places. Thank you for your initiative to stop the madness. We have developed family information materials on the issue of technology overuse http://www.ementalhealth.ca/index.php?m=article&ID=26722 And information about the importance of nature http://www.ementalhealth.ca/index.php?m=article&ID=52861 All the best with your initiative, Dr. Michael Cheng, (whose own kids attend a Waldorf School) www.drcheng.ca
"I got my daughter a phone because she wanted to be like all her friends, a few weeks later she started saying she didn't want to go to school anymore, and she didn't want to come out of her room. Finally in tears she told me that someone keeps telling her that nobody likes her. It breaks my heart, She is so sweet and she's always loved school." M. N, Riverside, CA.
Most of us have a horror story , it helps to know that you're not alone.
"My 12 yr old daughter was acting very defensive and refused to hand in her phone like she was supposed to, I didn't want to 'invade her privacy', so I let her behavior continue for a couple months, she seemed ok most of the time. Then she left it out unlocked and I had to see what was going on. There's not much that can make a grown man cry , but I wept when I saw the videos she was posting to several different discussion threads, there were other videos of children ( I didn't watch) but you could tell they were doing unspeakable things. What was maybe even more disturbing was that all of the dozens of kids on these boards were so non-chalant about it. I realized my kid was not even unique, I was looking at the tip of the iceberg. From what I saw it feels like almost every kid in America is being touched by this " J. Y. , Lombard, IL .
"My story starts off a little different. I lost my 18 yr old son to a fentanyl overdose on May 26th 2017. Our mission since then has been to bring drug awareness programs back into the schools, this has lead to many conversations with narcotics and police officers. Every officer that I have spoken with said kids with smart phones are the most dangerous thing in our communities. With the addition of social media every single officer I spoke with said that an adolescent with a smart phone is the easiest prey out there. They sited instance after instance where kids would post something on social media regarding an event which disclosed their location, posting questions regarding being curious about drugs or even just posting or texting to someone about being lonely, all which the officers said exposed vulnerabilities to someone looking to harm your child. I had always questioned the usefulness of social media for teens that at the drop of a hat could rip another kid to shreds in 18 key stokes and never see any pain that in may have caused but after my recent conversations with law enforcement I AM ALL IN" , Greg
"My first cell phone was one of those old-school Nokia 5165 models that could barely text and the reception was not even guaranteed but let me tell you, I was hooked. My cell phone quickly became my "best friend" and through the years I turned to it when I was sad, bored, and anxious. I developed those habits of being constantly connected and living in a constant state of distraction when I was a kid and those habits stuck with me well into adulthood. Now that children are growing up with access to smartphones, we have to do more to protect the habits they are developing during their childhood. Smartphones are designed with such precision and sophistication; we cannot assume that children, especially under the age of 13, can moderate their use and keep themselves from accessing inappropriate content. The Ballot Initiative No. 29 being proposed in Colorado that would ban sales of smartphones to children under the age of 13 is a critical piece of legislation for the health and well-being of the next generation. Some might argue that it's the family's responsibility to regulate when children are given smartphones however we cannot assume that all adults understand the health implications of early exposure to inappropriate content and smartphone overuse. I'm considered a millennial and my generation was the first group of digital natives, we were the guinea pigs, and some say we are also the most anxious, depressed, and distracted generation. Learn from us." Allison M
"I bought my 17-year-old daughter a smart phone. She is a really good kid. She’s beautiful inside and out, very kind, not looking for trouble, not rebellious. Just wanting to be a part of the social media that is now considered normal for teen-agers. I installed an app that was supposed to alert me and require my permission for her to install any new application. Naively I believed that this would eliminate the temptation to download the apps that I had told her, if she wanted the phone, she did not have permission to have access to. I noticed she was being very protective of her phone. I asked to see her phone and imagine my surprise when I saw this protective app had been removed by my daughter. What is the point of marketing apps to be helpful for parents to protect their children, when their children can easily remove them? The app in question is Snap chat. It may seem harmless but really it is an app that allows pictures and videos to be shared that will disappear after a short amount of time. So anything can be shared and there is no accountability because it is said to have “disappeared”. There are ways to save what is shared. The majority of users know how to save what is shared. So what is sent under the guise of no permanent harm done or evidence of perhaps a poor choice can actually exist forever and have the capacity to inflict shame and embarrassment for a long time. It is my job as her parent to protect my daughter in anyway that I can. She cannot see how poor decisions have the ability to effect her future, I can. I will do everything I can to protect her. The companies that market smart phones to children and teen-agers do not have our children’s best interests at heart. What they are concerned about is the bottom line. Why are we as a society, enabling this by buying these devices for our children? I thought I had my daughter’s device set up for her to have boundaries and I did not. I am so grateful that Dr. Farnum has starting this movement of bringing awareness of this deception. I pray that PAUS has great success and I will do what ever I can do to help." A. W.
"My very active, intense, outgoing, joyful child turned into a quiet, non engaged, angry, reclusive boy. This happened soon after he was given his first Iphone. He was buried in his phone constantly. It was very disturbing to watch him stop engaging with people, nature, and life. His natural child like curiosity was gone. So I did what I thought was best, and took the phone away, the most disturbing part was what followed. My ten year old son showed every sign of an addict to his cell phone. As a nurse I have witnessed many people withdrawal from cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol. My son went through these same stages breaking his addiction. It was a very difficult couple of months watching my son walk through breaking his addiction, and I was distraught that I had blindly handed him this addiction. However, I am glad to say he is back to his normal 10 year old self pestering his sister, playing outside, and being curious about the world again. It is not ok for a developing child to be buried in a 3x5 inch box, without even pausing to look up at life around him. " L.R. Denver, CO