Overusing the internet and social media, and spending too much time in front of screens destroy children’s healthy development and learning. Health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and learning difficulties such as ADHD, and Dyslexia.

To give parents, caregivers, and teachers the tools to help them stand firm and wait until grade 8 before giving children access to smartphones, the Technolife Wise Foundation is hosting a seminar ( to become a Digital Wise Parent/Adult to protect and nurture on Saturday, 11 March 2023 from 9:00 – 13:00 at Roosevelt High School in Johannesburg.

“The Technolife Wise Foundation launched the No cell phones at School campaign in September 2022 in partnership with Roosevelt High School ( watch the video here). The aim is to empower parents through different programmes to stand together to say Yes to waiting until Grade 8 to give children access to smartphones,” says Dr Marlena Kruger, digital wellness expert, coach, and founder of the Technolife Wise Foundation. Dr Kruger was also recently received the Global Woman Leader Award from the World Women Leadership Congress in India.

Why is it critically important to wait until grade 8 before you give access to our children to the internet and social media via smartphones?  There are many reasons that have already been researched over the last 15 – 20 years. Some of the reasons that contribute to adverse effects on their children’s physical health and mental well-being parents need to know are the following:

  • Smartphones are changing childhood by pushing aside development essentials for online amusement.
  • Smartphones are addictive with the same brain responses, craving for more and over secretion of dopamine, similar to alcohol, drug and gambling addictions.
  • Smartphones are an academic distraction that is paving a path for academic mediocrity, because of its constant distraction and interruption possibilities.
  • Excessive smartphone use is altering the development of children’s brains by having a premature thinning of the cortex of the brain that processes information from the five senses and is responsible for executive functions and rational and responsible decision-making.
  • Smartphones and other portable devices that emits blue light have a negative impact on both the quantity and quality of sleep, in children and teens. Sleep disturbances in childhood also have other adverse health effects such as poor diet, weakened immune system, stunted growth, and mental health issues.
  • Too much screen time have a higher likelihood of developing disruptive behaviour disorders.
  • Smartphones interfere with the development of healthy and happy face to face relationships between parents and children and family members.
  • Smartphones increase the risk for mental and emotional health disorders such as unnatural high levels of stress, anxiety and depression, especially when using social media and videogaming.
  • Smartphones put your child at risk for cyber bullying.
  • Smartphones expose children to sexual content, including sexting and specifically pornography – even with filters and parental controls installed on their children’s phone. 

If technology executives that flourish on the success of technology are banning smartphones for their children until the age of 14 (in alignment with the age restrictions for many social media apps and even 16 for WhatsApp), should we not do the same?

To interview Dr Kruger, please reply to this email.

More about Dr Kruger

  • Dr Kruger is a qualified radiographer who studied further in Education. She received her doctoral degree in the Psychology of Education from the University of Johannesburg.
  • She is a multiple international and national award winner, and a TEDx and motivational speaker. She has authored many scientific articles as well as several books. She has had many different media engagements over the past years, focusing on a wide range of screen addiction and related digital wellness topics. The focus of her work is to empower parents and people to work together to protect and nurture our vulnerable children and future.  
  • In December 2022, she received the Africa Edutech Leader Award in Mauritius.
  • Dr Kruger has also developed a range of EMF protective products, called WoWe® to create a World of Well-being and Wellness. These products protect against the negative health effects of the wireless EMF radiation coming from e.g., cell phone towers, cell phones, wi-fi routers, smart meters and other wireless smart devices. She also uses a range of different natural modalities to assess and improve the overall health and well-being of her clients.  

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