Who is Shaping Your Child's Narrative?

by: 

Nathan Dungan

Nathan DunganFrom better health to better learning to better connections with family and friends, there are so many reasons to celebrate Screen-Free Week. Here’s another: reducing kids’ screen time is the primary way that parents can safeguard children from corporate marketers. 

Marketers want 24/7 access to our children so they can sell them things they don’t need. In fact, children are overwhelmed with more than 5,000 advertising impressions per day—many of which are coming at them in rapid succession via the screens in their lives. Buying all that stuff can diminish a child’s wellbeing, particularly when the products marketed to kids are so often junk food and junk toys that can harm a child’s health and creativity.

Screens also allow marketers to sell kids on the false message that buying things will make them happy. In fact, there is a growing body of evidence that the opposite is true: The desire to spend and consume is actually associated with lower levels of happiness. Hitting the pause button on screen time for one week (or longer) will give you an opportunity to reassess the situation and think about who is (and who should be) shaping your child’s narrative. 

We recognize that screens are such a big part of our culture and routines that unplugging for a week might seem intimidating. That’s why CCFC has created a great list of screen-free activities and other tips to make the week rewarding and fun. You can find all this and more at www.screenfree.org.

Here’s to a proactive Screen-Free Week and a less commercialized childhood,

Nathan Dungan
CCFC Board Member & President of Share Save Spend

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Comments

Screen free time

This is something that I find incredibly important because of the overwhelming amount of information people are exposed to in general, and let alone children who are more easily affected by what is advertised to them. Screens are everywhere in our lives, and with iPads and smartphones in the hands of almost everyone, plus TV, there are countless opportunities for advertisers to appeal to children. I remember growing up when we spent most of our time outside, in all four seasons, and didn't have phones or all of the technology at our fingertips. I think a screen-free week is a great way to jumpstart people from relying on technology so much and rid their kid's minds of everything they are bombarded with. Or, if there has to be screen time, avoid games on phones/iPads that have advertising, or watch movies as a family so that there aren't commercials with advertisements. Without all these unnecessary choices and information bombarding children's brains, there will be an opportunity for them to think about other things and engage in more meaningful activities overall. It allows real life interactions to shape children's minds and experiences, instead of a constant desire and feeling they need more.

Screen, Social Media, and Sadness

I think going screen free for a week is a great idea. I have come to notice over the last few years how much more we are all connected to the internet, electronics, and social media in general- however, even more so for the younger generations. I remember when it was a treat to go to a movie or to watch tv once I finished all of my homework, now it seems that these are common daily activities for kids and teens. I think that children are definitely being affected by screen with the most through advertising, which can be seen almost everywhere these days. The amount of advertisement in the last few days has increased which correlates to the amount of people who are seeing and then following these advertisements. One example that particularly sticks out to me was Black Friday. Around the time of the holidays, I remember the last few days leading up to Thanksgiving, I would sit through a commercial break and see ONLY advertisements. Whether it was doorbuster deals or slogans to "get more for your kids with less money," it was all I saw or heard for 72 hours. These kind of advertisements then lead to children thinking that purchasing tangible objects is what the holiday season is all about, when it is exactly the opposite. Not only is it television advertisements, but social media. Social media might even be worse now a days, and not just for children but for the twenty-somethings. There is this false sense of reality and it needs to end. Everyone on social media posts the best things about their lives (usually) whether it is getting a new car, having a birthday party, getting engaged, etc. I think that more and more we compare our lives to other the more it can cause unhappiness. I think that we need to focus on separating these from one another, but it will take time and patience as social media is the biggest buzzword of our time. I will leave this comment with a quote that I think it fitting, "Comparison is the thief of joy."

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