If you have kids in 2017, odds are good that you’ve heard your fair share of opinions about how much screen time is a good thing and about the value of getting kids to unplug. Listen, I’m just about the biggest proponent of “real-life” adventures as there can be. We have strict limits on TV and tablet time, and I encourage my kids to get outside and explore as often as possible.
But I also recognize that screens are here to stay and an integral part of life in 2017. I’m not trying to eliminate tech and gadgets from my kids’ lives; I’m just looking for a balance.
More and more, though, parents feel “tech shamed” over the amount of time their children spend consuming electronic media. Research released almost daily warns of the mental health value of unplugging and the dangers of unrestricted time spent in front of a screen for kids of all ages. This is not an either/or issue, however. We don’t need to choose one or the other. It’s time to reframe the conversation.
With that in mind, Cricket Media has launched the Keeping Tech in Check campaign. With the tagline, “a balance, not a ban,” the campaign doesn’t focus exclusively on “unplugging” but offers families a wealth of tools, tips, and resources to find the right balance between technology and real-life experiences.
“Technology is here to stay, offering a wealth of resources,” says Stephanie Sharis, CEO of Cricket Media. “Our magazines have always promoted active learning, acting as catalysts for children’s curiosity and creativity. And with the Keeping Tech in Check initiative, we hope that we can help that play out in real life as much as online.”
Content available on the website includes:
- The American Academy of Pediatrics Media Use Planner and Media Calculator (both kids and parents will be able to monitor their tech use with these planners).
- Downloadable content from Cricket Media’s award-winning magazines, designed for ages 3 mos. to 14+.
- Advice from experts and peers, including a regularly updated blog written by Cricket Media editors, parents, and other experts, sharing seasonal and topical ideas for screen-free activities.
- Programs designed to focus families on achieving their goals together, including a summer reading program; the Smithsonian Institute sponsored Folklife Challenge and Invent It Challenge; and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Gene Yang’s Reading without Walls Challenge.
- Mini printable books.
- Printable activities.
- Parents’ Choice Family Adventures Map.
- Subscription discounts to the 11 ad-free and award-winning Cricket Media magazines for various ages and interests: ASK, BABY BUG, CLICK, CICADA, COBBLESTONE, CRICKET, DIG, FACES, LADYBUG, MUSE, and SPIDER .
What’s that, you say? Magazines? Like, old-school floppy things with words and paper? Yes. Absolutely.
When my kids were younger, we had subscriptions to National Geographic Little Kids and National Geographic Kids, and they LOVED them. Come on, mail is fun!
The incredible variety of titles offered by Cricket Media is no joke. There’s literally something for everyone – whether you’re looking for read-aloud stories (Babybug, Ladybug), imaginative stories for older kids (Spider, Cricket), stories and poems for teens (Cicada), science-themed content (Click, Ask, Muse), or magazines covering history and culture (Dig Into History, Faces, Cobblestone).
Seriously, do your kids a favor and get them a subscription to a real, honest-to-goodness magazine. They’ll thank you for it.