**Should Children Be Faulted for Desiring Phones Given Our Own Dependence on Them?**

Bryony Gordon is a renowned author, columnist, podcast host, and advocate for mental health. She currently serves as the Anxiety Aunt for The Telegraph and is the founder of Mental Health Mates, a peer support group.

There is a growing movement that recently gained traction when a mother from Suffolk shared her initiative on Instagram. Daisy Greenwell, along with a friend, established a WhatsApp group called Parents United for a Smartphone Free Adolescence. Despite starting with only three members, the group quickly expanded to over 1,000 participants. The overwhelming response led to the creation of numerous subgroups dedicated to promoting a smartphone-free childhood in various regions across the UK.

The discussions within these groups reflect the concerns of many parents who are alarmed by the increasing prevalence of smartphones among young children. With statistics showing that a significant number of toddlers and preteens own smartphones, parents are reminiscing about a time when such devices were not a staple of childhood. The nostalgia for a phone-free era, where communication required physical effort and interaction, is palpable.

Personally, as a parent of an almost-11-year-old, I have taken a firm stance against providing my child with a smartphone at a young age. Despite her protests about feeling left out among her peers, I have found solidarity with other parents who advocate for delaying smartphone usage among children. It is essential for us, as adults, to lead by example and reconsider our own dependency on digital devices before admonishing our children for similar behavior.

While governmental initiatives like the proposed ban on smartphones in schools are commendable, true change starts at home. We must prioritize genuine connections with our children over digital distractions, setting boundaries that emphasize quality family time without the constant presence of smartphones. By promoting a smartphone-free environment until the age of 16 and limiting our own screen time in their presence, we can strive to offer our children the enriching childhood experiences they deserve.