The Screen Time Action Network at Fairplay is a collaborative community of practitioners, educators, advocates, and parents who work to reduce excessive technology use harming children, adolescents, and families. We support practical solutions grounded in research by developing strategic partnerships, creating groundbreaking resources, and amplifying the work of our members. If you are interested in learning more about our mission, becoming a member or joining a work group, visit our website!
Action Network member, Kailan Carr, was able to get the gamified math app, Prodigy, out of her children’s school. As an observant parent and former teacher, she saw that the app had very little math and lots of manipulative, non-educational game play– and knew there were better ways to get kids excited about math. In this edition of Action Network Live!, get the full story and learn how you can raise your concerns and make change in your school, too! Guests Rachel Franz, Fairplay’s Education Manager, and Kailan Carr highlight what to look out for in popular education technology, how to approach teachers and other parents without judgment, and how to ask the right questions to ultimately inspire responsible tech use in your child’s school!
- 0:00 Introduction
- 3:24 How can I tell if my child’s EdTech is manipulative?
- 7:21 Why are educators relying on these apps so much?
- 8:46 What red flags did Kailan notice when EdTech was introduced in her son’s classroom?
- 13:06 Why are children coming home and begging for memberships to EdTech like Prodigy? (Examples included)
- 20:36 What do educators still need to learn about manipulative design?
- 22:45 What encouraged Kailan to speak up to her son’s school about her concerns, and what was her approach? How did his teacher and the school system respond?
- 32:58 How can I communicate with my child’s teacher that I am their ally —not their enemy— in this battle against Big Tech?
- 33:28 How did a child psychologist address the EdTech concerns in her 9-year-old child’s classroom?
- 38:03 What do you tell your kids?
- 41:46 What are some final tips and best practices?
- 48:00 Q/A
We’re making it easy for you to take action against manipulative EdTech in your own community! Copy and paste this email template, modify it so it fits your local situation, and send it to other parents and teachers to gain support, collect signatures, and send it to school officials. Remember — there is power in numbers.
At first glance, Prodigy seems like a fun way to interest children in math. In reality, it jeopardizes children’s relationships with learning at a time when so much is already working against their success. Fairplay created this comprehensive resource explaining why Prodigy (and other manipulative EdTech) has no place in children’s education.
Kailan Carr is a parent, author, and former educator whose mission is to prioritize playtime for kids living in this digital world! She is a mom of two and a former teacher with a masters in Literacy. She founded Quiet Book Queen & Crafts in Between to help parents and grandparents provide screen-free activities through her quiet book templates, page kits, and printable activities. Kailan is also an author of 5 books and a speaker advocating for more play! Find out more at kailancarr.com.
Rachel Franz (she/her) serves as Fairplay’s Education Manager. Rachel led Fairplay’s investigation into Prodigy’s math game, highlighting grotesque manipulative practices used to pressure kids into buying an expensive membership. Her report led to a complaint to the FTC in 2021 that was featured by NBC News and has inspired many schools across the globe to ban Prodigy from their schools.