Saturday morning, one of our team members woke up to her 5 year old pretending to be a puppy, eager to pounce or growl anytime mama reached for her phone. By noon, a son asked his father to “listen with his whole face.” Texts, emails, stories started filling our mailboxes—folks sharing stories about how they had spent the morning fiddling with the settings on their phones, eager to take back some of the time, attention, and joy that had slowly been siphoned away by more and more time on screens.
If you were able to tune in to the ABC News Special Family Event, ScreenTime, this weekend, you have probably already guessed what sparked these moments.
In a six-month tour of the nation, Diane Sawyer set out to find the answer to a pressing question: How do we balance the ease of technology with the fullness of our lives? She talked with families, researchers, schools, doctors, employers and tech experts—even the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook. The result? A vast and deep portrait of a nation filled with families who feel overwhelmed by the challenge of knowing how to raise kids with healthy screen habits.
But she also heard about START, and a community courageously coming together to tackle this epidemic. So she hopped on a plane to KC, to see for herself what the buzz is all about.
Whether you’ve sat with us in your school, faith community, business…or you are part of our START online community, the description of what Diane discovered in KC applies to you: “We have so many different sectors of the community, be it the business community, the police department, pediatricians. The youth minister is here. So is the county director of mental health…The first thing everyone agrees is that they can tell the truth here, no one sits in judgment…There’s like no wisdom from the ages that has been passed down, because we are the first generation raising the first set of children who will prefer texting over talking.”
If we are being honest, we wish Diane had been able to hold the spotlight on you a little longer, START friends. We are eager for the nation to hear what a difference device bedtimes have made for your kids. How device-free meals have led to meaningful memories and deeper connection as a family. How you may not have all of the answers for things like Fortnite, Snapchat, and the Momo Challenge, but you are determined to show up and do your best. And most inspiring—how you have reached out to say, “I can’t do this alone. I need my community. And I’m finding it again, with START’s help.”
We are so proud to share this moment with you, and want to invite you to help us deepen our impact. We encourage you to consider sharing this ScreenTime clip with family and friends. If you find any of our Facebook posts or blogs helpful, share those too. Invite other to check START out, because the more people who take small steps together, the better chance we have of creating a world where kids can stay captivated by life—not screens, and where adults learn again how to “Listen with your whole face.”