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.
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
How to Use the Action Kit
The Action Kit has many documents that provide further background about the issue of screens in schools, but it is not intended to be an exhaustive collection, or to duplicate the excellent resource library hosted by the Action Network. While some may wish to read the Action Kit cover-to-cover, it is designed to make it easy for you to select the resources and tools that will be most helpful to your advocacy.
Under The Problem, you’ll find 2-3 page documents that summarize the different effects of overuse of digital devices. These pieces can be helpful in educating potential allies and convincing skeptical policymakers.
In Tools for Parents, you’ll find short, off-the-shelf documents like petitions and factsheets 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.
Finally, for more in-depth reading, the Action Kit includes a Further Reading section with links to some of the more valuable articles and comprehensive treatments of the subject that have been produced in the last few years.
We designed this online Action Kit to be optimized for the web, but you can download the full PDF with every document 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.