Welcome to the Screen Sanity blog! Here you'll find the latest tips and trends related to screentime, smartphones, social media and video games, as well as real-life stories from Screen Sanity families.

Word of the Week | Vamping

At START, we are passionate about equipping parents with the language they need to engage with their kids’ tech lives. Read more about our word of the week, vamping, in this New York Times article…and then try using it with your kids!

Curfews Then + Now

When I find them in the morning, still asleep, with a device in their hands, the truth is, I have no idea where they have been or who they have been with all night.  It is like I am inviting the darkness of the streets into their own room—and the darkness is actually more aggressive than it has ever been.  All of the things my parents worried I might be exposed to if they let me stay out past 10 p.m. are a reality, and they are at my child’s fingertips. 

Mental Health + Device Use in Teens

Published recently by JoCo Magazine, this article takes a close look at the link between electronic device use, depression, and impaired executive functioning in teens. At START, we are proud to be part of a community that is coming together to tackle digital health, and excited to include Johnson County Government on the list of leaders helping raise awareness. Device addiction might be one of the biggest issues our community is facing, but we believe that—together—we can create new norms that promote healthy tech use.

Device Bedtimes | Student Perspective

If you are thinking about how to get your kid to put away his or her device at night, but you aren’t sure how they would feel about it, check out these thoughts from our friend, Will Gurley. Will’s unique perspective on device bedtimes comes from his background as someone who has struggled with depression and launched the You Matter Festival in response to the teen suicide epidemic in Johnson County.

Our Daughter’s Nightly Struggle

My husband and I decided it was time for her to start putting her device in our room at bedtime. I honestly had no idea how much this decision would impact her. After she blew up in anger, she began sobbing and puddled on the floor. As I held her, I just listened. Listened to all the worries and fears of fitting in and keeping up, but there was something even more alarming…

Device Bedtimes

We all know that our devices need to charge – and so do we! It’s no secret that we all need a good night’s sleep to live happy, healthy lives. Yet, did you know that 80% of teens use their phones when they are supposed to be sleeping – including many who stay up most of the night or wake for every notification? The device is probably in their room for a very practical reason, like listening to music or being the alarm clock, but as the New York Times  explains, it often leads to “vamping” – staying up much of the night on technology, be it texting with friends or watching an endless loop of cat videos.

START Three-Part Parent Program

My husband and I have four kids – elementary and middle school age – who love screens. Not a book worm in the crowd. Like many families, they watched their fair share of Baby Einstein and The Wiggles in the baby and toddler years…sometimes over and over again – so I could make dinner, or nurse the baby, or heaven forbid sit down with the neighbor to have a glass of wine. These days, our kids love to play app-based games, watch videos, and play on their Xbox. 

Just Getting Started

Overwhelmed and unsure of what to do, a group of parents in Kansas City recently began a conversation:  What would it look like to pause for minute, and rethink the way we manage the gift of technology?  And as we began to gather around coffee tables, at the playground, and in school libraries, we uncovered a common theme:  “This is hard; it’s like we are in a new frontier and there is no roadmap.  We need someone to help us navigate this terrain.”  In May, this led us to launch START: Stand Together And Rethink Technology.