Middle school students at The Lippman School took the Tech Timeout Academic Challenge from February 28-March 2. They had a break from texting, social media, video gaming, and other activities related to the use of electronic devices.
On Tuesday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m., they’ll gather together with other members of the Akron area community to discuss their experiences, and watch the “Tech Timeout” movie, illustrating the experience of Seattle area students who also took a short break from using technology a few years ago.
So far, more than 16,000 students in schools throughout the U.S. and Canada have participated in the program that addresses a growing concern about young people’s reliance on digital devices for communication, and the amount of time they spend interacting with people on social media versus face-to-face relationships.
The program is sponsored by life insurance provider, Foresters, and was created by Michael Stusser and Marty Riemer, award-winning filmmakers, and founders of the Seattle-based production company, Twisted Scholar.
In 2012, Stusser experimented with his own “digital blackout” and used the lessons learned to create a program specifically directed towards the segment of society most likely to be connected to digital devices—young people.
“We’re not asking anyone to give up all of their electronic devices and live tech-free forever,” Riemer says. “We know how important technology is to our society, but there’s a big difference between using it, and over-using it. We want kids to realize how important it is to unplug for a while, before this dependence on devices carries over into their adult lives.”
Riemer will join The Lippman School’s discussion on March 3 via live Skype chat, and will talk about how and why he made the movie, and what students around the country have experienced when they took the challenge.
Lippman’s Head of School, Sam Chestnut, says he’s hoping that students, teachers, and families from throughout the Akron-Canton area will attend the event.
“We want to encourage a dialogue that starts here, and spreads throughout our community”, he says.
“We are actually very tech-oriented at Lippman, where all students use computers and start learning to code as early as first grade.” he says,” We also know there can be a downside to over-use of technology, such as children not getting enough rest because they’re using smartphones and tablets late at night, and cyber bullying. So, we think now is a good time to start encouraging them to think about when it is and isn’t appropriate to interact with their electronic devices.”
The movie and discussion will be held on Tuesday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium, which is at 750 White Pond Drive in West Akron, on the same campus as the Shaw JCC. Admission is free, but reservations are required.
Reservations can be made online here, or by phone: 330-836-0419.
While the event is geared toward parents and families of middle and high school students; it is appropriate for all ages. Complimentary babysitting for young children will be available with RSVP.