Over my past 20 years in education, I’ve seen the influence of technology on childhood and education increase exponentially. As with most things in life, technology can be both a positive and negative influence. Certainly, we cannot deny the prevalence of technology in our lives and how it drives much of how we use our time.
Say No to the Smart phone, Say Yes to Childhood.
Recently, I became aware of a movement called “Wait Until 8th.” Founded by Austinite, Brooke Shannon and influenced by Dr. Natasha Burgert, a National Spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Dr. Richard Freed, a child/adolescent psychologist, “Wait Until 8th” promotes the idea of saying no to the smartphone until at least 14 years of age for our children. You can learn more about this movement at www.waituntil8th.org.
Consider the reasons they identify for taking this stance with our children…
- Smartphones are changing childhood
- Smartphones are addictive
- Smartphones are an academic distraction
- Smartphones impair sleep
- Smartphones interfere with relationships
- Smartphones increase the risk for anxiety and depression
- Smartphones put your child at risk for cyber-bullying
- Smartphones expose children to sexual content
- Technology executives ban smartphones for their children
All of that is enough to make you pause.
Recently, as a family, we embraced “No-screen Sundays.” Well, to say embrace is a bit of an overstatement. For us as parents and for our children, it felt a bit like at first what I imagine a tooth extraction may feel like. However, in a short period of time, it has become a day that we look forward to every week. We take more walks together. We play more ping-pong. We do more projects around the house. We play more board games.
Initially, we thought we were doing this to reclaim childhood for our children. As we continue this journey, it feels like we are reclaiming parenthood for us.
At St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, we encourage kids to be kids. We value childhood as a most cherished time of life. Are you ready for your child to experience what school can be?