You might remember my previous post on Little Captains of Play, an initiative by a few of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, who initiated a campaign encouraging healthy digital technology habits amongst children, titled Screensavers. We can’t and shouldn’t avoid all forms of digital media, but we can use it in a positive way for information and to reinforce our (real) relationships with people.
In my home I try to limit the amount of media entertainment not just because it’s shown to dull a child’s brain (so to speak lah), curbing his creativity and more; or the negative medical side effects, including affecting eyesight, which I have previously blogged about here and here. I’m also concerned by the amount of violence in some shows that my 6 year old now likes as opposed to the baby stuff.
We do use YouTube for the extensive kids videos online, but I had a rude wake up call when I one day tried do a search on the YouTube app on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and before I could type anything into the search box (but already had my cursor there), it suggested “fxxx”. Yes, EXACTLY as how I’ve written it, xxx included. Since then I’ve ensured that Restrictions are activated on the iPad.
I also sometimes find the quality of the YouTube ads questionable and would definitely consider paying a subscription just so I wouldn’t have to see them! Not because they contain nudity, coarse language, or are pushing products that we don’t need, but also because many contain subliminal messages about gender or relationships that I prefer not to influence my preschool kids.
Take for example, this perfectly innocent ad by Biotherm, which is a real life example as it came on before one of our kids videos.
It is a pretty standard TVC, nothing scandalous, but put it before a highly anticipated video by preschoolers, and I don’t think the prancing, the subtle (or not so subtle) attraction undertones and frolicking on the bed are appropriate for their growing minds. I’m not saying Biotherm are irresponsible marketeers because preschoolers are not their target market anyhow, but I am so going to work on blocking those ads for now.
So I’m more than happy to spread the word about Screensavers for this very good cause of using media in a healthy way. The students have come up with a lovely poster (as below) to serve as a reminder for families with kids of every age, and I hope that they touch many of us parents and older kids out there. We can’t shelter our kids from the media forever, but we can work on developing healthy habits towards it. Go to their website here to download the Screensavers booklet.
Do join in their event this weekend at Lot One, or head to their website for more information.