A DAD has set up a nationwide campaign to encourage parents to wait until their child goes to secondary school before giving them a mobile phone.

Sam Rice, who has two children at St Mary’s Primary in Largs, has started the Kids for Now initiative to highlight the dangers of giving youngsters access to the internet at an early age.

Sam created his campaign to encourage parents to wait after coming across a similar movement in America which has been adopted by many families.

He explained: “The problem of children with smartphones has been bothering me for years, but I just didn’t know what to do about it.

“A lot of young kids have phones and they are always online and I just don’t think that does anyone any good.

“I came across the idea from a similar organisation set up in America in 2019 called Wait Until 8th, which has been hugely successful and has over 40,000 followers.

“I thought that’s just what we need here and although it’s still very early days, we already have around 20 families signed up from Largs, Paisley and Ayr."

Sam, from West Kilbride, believes that the biggest reason for parents giving their children a phone at a young age is peer pressure - and he hopes his new campaign can help to combat that.

He said: “Through Kids For Now, parents sign up to pledge not to hand out a smartphone until their child is at least secondary school.

“The website connects parents who make the pledge and who have children in the same year group at their school.

“This combats the peer pressure element by letting them know that their child is not alone.

“It empowers these families to keep the pledge and to support each other.

“If parents are worried about their child’s safety and want to be able to stay in touch, they can still get them a basic mobile phone that doesn’t connect to the internet.”

Sam believes the internet is not a safe place for youngsters attending primary school, and is urging parents to get involved in his campaign to keep them safe.

He added: “Every day there are tragic stories of game addiction, behavioural problems, child exploitation, exposure to inappropriate content and bullying.

“Recent news stories about online abuse suggest that secondary school may still be too young for many to go online, and exposing youngsters to these risks to my mind is irresponsible.

“I’ve had a great response so far and I’m hoping that continues."

For more information go to www.kidsfornow.org.uk, or find the campaign on Facebook.