chris finne

Screen Free Day

19 Oct 2010

A letter came home from my son’s 2nd grade class advocating a “Wellness Week” where physical activity, nutrition, etc. are emphasized. No problems there, except that they implicitly single out technology as an enemy of health.

Following is my response on the class’s Shutterfly forum:

I'll freely admit that we failed this miserably yesterday. While I understand promoting physical activity to improve health, I'm a vocal advocate against anti-technology campaigns like this. We live in the capital of technology where our local economy is driven by media, video games and computers. My own career in software was sparked as a kid when I re-programmed my video games.
Our kids should have a healthy passion for these technologies as they make learning easier, more engaging and more accessible. It is hard to get my 2 year old to play a board game, but there are many educational games on the iPad that have enough flash to keep her attention and an interface simple enough for a toddler.
I'd rather see a "handwriting-free day" where all homework and drawing is done on a computer. Handwriting is a skill that is no longer relevant in most careers and in most of life. A "book-free day" where all reading is done on a piece of technology would also be helpful. By the time our kids enter college or the workforce, there will be very few printed periodicals no more printed newspapers. The sooner our kids get used to reading and learning on devices like the iPad, Kindle and computers, the better prepared they will be for future education and employment.

It also reminds me of a great Onion post about Glowing Rectangles