Brittany Nicholson and her 12-year-old daughter Riley, of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, are part of the growing anti-smartphone movement, which we reported on last month. (Veasey Conway for The Free Press)

FP Behind the Scenes: The Parents Saying No to Smartphones

Join us Wednesday, June 7, for a subscriber-only event. Plus: watch the recording from last week’s event about the sorry state of high school debate.

By The Free Press

June 6, 2023

By age 12, seven out of ten American kids own a smartphone. They also spend about eight hours online a day. But after a pandemic that forced America’s youth to spend all day long on their screens, a small but growing minority of parents are finally refusing to put the internet in their children’s pockets. Free Press reporter Olivia Reingold spoke with these moms and dads for her recent piece “The Parents Saying No to Smartphones,” which struck a chord with many of you.

Now, if you’re a paid subscriber, you can be part of the discussion at our next Free Press Behind the Scenes event tomorrow, Wednesday, June 7, at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST.

Meet Olivia and Free Press editor Peter Savodnik who will be speaking with Brooke Shannon, the mother of two behind the nonprofit Wait Until Eighth—which encourages parents to hold off from giving kids smartphones until they reach eighth grade. Also joining them will be Jean Twenge, the psychology professor and foremost expert on Generation Z, whose latest book Generations was released last month.

These events are open only to paying subscribers. Right now, you can become one for only $6.67 a month. Which is about how much an eight-pack of double-A batteries costs in 2023 America.

If you’re a paid subscriber to The Free Press, you can join the conversation live by registering for the event at the link below. We’ll also send out a Zoom link the day of the event.

This post is for paying subscribers only


Already have an account? Log in

our Comments

Use common sense here: disagree, debate, but don't be a .

the fp logo
comment bg

Welcome to The FP Community!

Our comments are an editorial product for our readers to have smart, thoughtful conversations and debates — the sort we need more of in America today. The sort of debate we love.   

We have standards in our comments section just as we do in our journalism. If you’re being a jerk, we might delete that one. And if you’re being a jerk for a long time, we might remove you from the comments section. 

Common Sense was our original name, so please use some when posting. Here are some guidelines:

  • We have a simple rule for all Free Press staff: act online the way you act in real life. We think that’s a good rule for everyone.
  • We drop an occasional F-bomb ourselves, but try to keep your profanities in check. We’re proud to have Free Press readers of every age, and we want to model good behavior for them. (Hello to Intern Julia!)
  • Speaking of obscenities, don’t hurl them at each other. Harassment, threats, and derogatory comments that derail productive conversation are a hard no.
  • Criticizing and wrestling with what you read here is great. Our rule of thumb is that smart people debate ideas, dumb people debate identity. So keep it classy. 
  • Don’t spam, solicit, or advertise here. Submit your recommendations to if you really think our audience needs to hear about it.
Close Guidelines