Could a Therapist-Endorsed Phone Solve the “Wait Until 8th” Problems?
The Wait Until 8th pledge uses solid research to show why famous tech execs don’t give their own kids smartphones, and why you shouldn’t either. Wait Until 8th’s research-backed reasons range from mental health to cyberbullying to emotional development. Their work has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, Today.com, the NBC Today Show, Chicago Tribune, Forbes and more.
At Pinwheel, we 100% endorse the principles and the research that Wait Until 8th has published. Our founder and CEO, Dane Witbeck, signed the pledge before he founded Pinwheel. Dane, along with his co-founder Isaiah McPeak, both personally refused to give their 7-11 year old children any existing smartphones.
And yet, we at Pinwheel have designed a smartphone for kids, including our own. Why?
Wait Until 8th Has One Major Flaw
Wait Until 8th really means: dread 8th, fighting with your kid the whole time, building up a core resentment. It’s a non-solution as tensions build, waiting for some company to design a better solution (::polite cough::). Constant arguments, resentment, building up the “here’s why you can’t be like your friends,” and so on is not a fun part of parenting.
There’s also a huge danger of waiting until 8: while learning not to listen to you about smartphones, your kids are learning about smartphones… from their friends.
If you’re like us, your parents didn't teach you to use tech. You probably just figured out how to use it on your own, with many downs and ups. You may even feel hostage to your phone right now half the time, imagining better for your kids, but like us, you are frustrated with the lack of real options.
We designed Pinwheel with wellness ingredients and therapist backing so that you, as parent, can be the one to teach your child about tech. And succeed.
As technologists, it seemed a limited, mode-switching, wellness-centered, research-backed phone that grows up with a child might be the trick. So, we designed one!
How does a wellness-backed kid phone that's 100% tool and 0% toy measure up? Wait Until 8th's principles and research formed some of the basis of our own product designs, in addition to our own therapist council, child development studies, and existing research.
All 10 Principles of Wait Until 8th Are Solved with Design Thinking
We deconstructed the research-laden “Why Wait” page to list all the reasons at a glance, while informing you how the Pinwheel kid phone is an answer in every respect. We viewed these principles as problems to be solved, rather than signposts saying “never use a phone.”
Pinwheel phones do not violate a single principle of the Wait Until 8th pledge. That’s because Wait Until 8th has described the dangers of an “adult smartphone,” even when disabled with parental controls. But healthy kids smartphones are now available!
(If you're reading this, Wait Until 8th people...)
We want you to research and study this phone! One of the articles you used is Dr. Adrian Ward's research on the mere presence of a smartphone making us dumber, more distracted, and harder to connect with—and now he's studying Pinwheel and kids!
Take this as your invitation to join us in solving the issues beneath smartphones, rather than just delaying them. <3
You Can Say "Never" to Adult Smartphones
You don’t have to Wait Until 8 anymore. You don't have to dread what happens after 8th anymore either! The Pinwheel phone can last and grow until your child is ready for an adult smartphone. Pinwheel’s operating system is built on developmentally-appropriate staging and does not cross the line to social media, entertainment, or addiction.
We believe that the Pinwheel kid phone is what Wait Until 8th has been waiting for.