Screen-Free Week, May 1 - 7, 2017
Screen-Free Week is May 1- 7, 2017. It is an initiative of Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood to raise awareness about the dangers of too much screen time viewing especially for children. To learn more about how screen devices both in school and out affect health, you may want to investigate Is Edtech the Future of Education. Download your Screen-Free Organizer's Kit here.
PAA is so pleased that a committee of the Maryland state legislature is considering a bill to establish health and safety guidelines for the use of digital devices in schools. This is a great model for other states. The language is simple:
Guidelines and procedures for the use of digital devices in public school classrooms.
(a) The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in consultation with the Department, shall develop health and safety guidelines and procedures for the use of digital devices in public school classrooms.
Maryland's HB866 aims to protect students from the health hazards that medical experts have for many years associated with daily use of digital devices. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has had regulations governing the use of computers for office workers since the 1990s, but schools have no medical oversight. “More and more experts are proving that there are serious risks to our kids’ health because they spend every day on a digital device,” Delegate Arentz said. “Maryland students need to get the most out of this technology, so we want medical professionals to lead us in a safe direction.” (From the committee's press release.)
Let the conversation begin during Screen Free Week. Maryland has one of the most successful education programs in the country. If parents there are concerned about the safety of students using technology, we should pay attention. PAAO suggests that you contact Oregon state legislators asking them to introduce a similar bill.
In the meantime, let's turn off those computers, put away those iPads, and silence those phones. There are a million other things we could be doing instead. Below are some suggestions from the CCFC. What's on your list?