I am the mother of three grade school children and I am active in their schools and extra-curricular activities. My husband is a high school guidance counselor and coach of multiple sports.
Through the last several years, we have noticed a big change in the way that the children and young adults around us communicate and interact with the world. In the past, when on field trips and outings with the kids, the bus would be filled with laughter and jokes, excited discussions about what was going to happen that day or later on that weekend. This year, we noticed a change. On a three hour drive across the state, we noticed that the once boisterous bus was silent for the first couple of hours... A bus filled with lively teens was absolutely quiet. A quick glance back from the driver's seat revealed each student's head bowed and eyes staring at a screen of some sort. All interacting with others in the internet world, but completely ignoring the actual friends who were sitting only inches away. When their batteries eventually started to fade, voices and laughter could finally be heard again. The familiar, happy sounds of bus rides gone by were back.
This trip made us think about technology differently. While it is so helpful and so necessary in our modern lives, its constant presence also takes away much of the connections we could be making if only we looked up from those screens more often.
This brings me to the Tech Timeout Academic Challenge http://techtimeout.com/academicchallenge/. The company I work for, Twisted Scholar, promotes this program that challenges students, teachers and school communities to take a Tech Timeout for several days to reflect and examine how much we depend on technology to keep in touch, find our way to an address, and express ourselves. Recent studies have shown that 8 - 18 year-olds are connected to some form of electronic media for 8 - 12 hours a day and may be missing out on the positive effects of tech-free time with family and friends.
I write this to urge you to take a Tech Timeout this year! Thanks to a collaboration with Foresters, the entire kit filled with curriculum, planning guides and DVDs is FREE for a limited time. To request your kit, please visit:
We also love to share your hard work by helping to drum up local and national media attention for your brave endeavor. Please let us know if you decide to take the challenge! Here is a link to one school's experience:
I look forward to hearing about how this challenge affects your students and community, and hope to hear many more noisy and raucous bus rides in our collective future!
Feel free to email directly for a kit, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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