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…
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.
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.
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.