Welcome to the Screens in Schools Action Kit!
Thank you in advance for your work on behalf of the mental, emotional, psychological, physical, and academic health of our children. It took the work of many people to create a world in which our children are exposed to an unhealthy mindset about screen time. It will take the work of even more dedicated people like you to create healthier kids, and to undo some of the damage already done. That’s exactly why the Screens in Schools work group at Fairplay’s Children’s Screen Time Action Network created this Action Kit.
One of the reasons Big Tech has been so successful is that they have given people tools and a vocabulary calling for ever more screen time for our children. We are now taking a page out of their playbook. What you have here is an astounding array of information, research, and helpful aids distilled into bite-sized chunks. Please use these tools as you talk with neighbors, school decision-makers, politicians, and anyone else you believe needs to be educated on this issue.
No sane educator or parent deliberately seeks to harm children. However, the sad state of the world is that many educators and parents simply do not know the facts about educational technology, or edtech. The aim of this toolkit is to empower you to educate and advocate. Here you will find templates for letters to school administrators and letters to the editor to be sent to the websites and newspapers you read. You’ll find handouts you can use for community and PTA meetings. You’ll find research that can be presented to those in power, especially those who are considering adopting big-tech initiatives that ultimately harm children. There are brief handouts that present key research in manageable pieces. There are petitions and opt-out forms, which have been used successfully by parents all over the country to keep their children safe at school; as well as other tools and documents that will be helpful when talking with your communities.
This Action Kit has been created by the Screens in Schools work group of the Children’s Screen Time Action Network. The Action Network, formed in 2017, is a coalition of practitioners, educators, and advocates working to promote a healthy childhood by reducing the amount of time kids spend with digital devices.
Until now, resistance to the Big Tech assault on our children has been largely scattered and isolated. What we hope this toolkit will provide is a common resource to be used by all advocates for the health of our children. It can be extremely frustrating and deflating to try and fight this battle alone, each family a solitary voice. However, there is strength in numbers and unity. Working together, we have made great progress, but there is still much to be done. Thank you again for the tireless work you have done and will continue to do to ensure a healthy future for our children.
– Matt & Joe
Action Kit Preview
This Action Kit is divided into four sections.
Under The Problem, you’ll find 2-3 page documents that summarize the different effects of overuse of digital devices. In Tools for Parents, you’ll find short, off-the-shelf documents like petitions and fact sheets that could be used as-is or adapted to a particular group’s needs. Tools for Educators includes documents that would be of particular interest to educators and their unions, such as educator blogs about edtech, and examples of teachers organizing around edtech issues. The Further Reading section offers more resources to take an even deeper dive into this complex issue.
Here you’ll find a few documents from each section. To access the whole Action Kit, click here.
In response to the unique challenges posed to educators and parents during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have updated our Action Kit with a new section full of COVID-19 resources for caregivers, teachers, and advocates.