photo: Mitchell Haindfield via Flickr

It starts as soon as her little hands can push the buttons: the battle over the cell phone. But one group of worried moms wants to make sure kids don’t get their own smartphones until they’re teenagers.

A group of concerned Austin, Tex. moms decided to stand up and do something about kids and cell phones. They started the “Wait Until 8th” campaign, a drive to convince parents to wait until at least eighth grade to give their kids smartphones.

“New research shows dependence on your smartphone may produce some of the same addictive brain responses similar to alcohol, drug and gambling addictions,” the moms say on their website. “Smartphones are like slot machines in your children’s pocket constantly persuading them to crave more.”

The Wait Until 8th campaign lists many reasons why kids should wait, including research that shows that smartphones can distract from schoolwork, impair sleep, increase the risk of anxiety and depression, put kids at risk for cyberbullying and increase kids’ exposure to sexual content. They also point out a New York Times article that exposed how several big-name Silicon Valley executives do not allow their kids to own phones until they are 14. While they say some kids are given phones upon becoming teenagers, many don’t get a data plan (to give them access to the web) until they are at least 16.

“If leaders of digital giants like Google, eBay, Apple and Yahoo are delaying the smartphone then should this not give us pause?” says the “Wait Until 8th” website. “Executives that flourish on the success of technology are protecting their children from the smartphone. Should we not do the same?”

The Wait Until 8th moms ask only one thing: will you take the pledge to keep your kids cell phone-free until eighth grade? Click here to say, “Yes.”

How do you feel about kids and cell phone use? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.