Summer Screentime Prep

“For our family of four kids, screens are an easy fallback.  The kids are happy being entertained by videos and games. And I get moments of peace and quiet and a chance to accomplish some work. That’s a win/win situation. But last summer, we tried something new. We decided to make a plan to help us be more intentional regarding our summer screen time…”

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Krista Boan
College Students Talk Tech

Today’s parents can feel overwhelmed by the task of keeping up with their kids’ digital lives. And when we fall behind? It is easy to throw our hands and the air and ask, “Is it even worth it?” This spring, we headed to the University of Kansas to see how college students felt about the things their parents did to help them navigate the digital world…

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Krista Boan
START + Diane Sawyer = ScreenTime

In a six-month tour of the nation, Diane Sawyer set out to find the answer to a pressing question: How do we balance the ease of technology with the fullness of our lives? When she heard about START, she was intrigued by a community courageously coming together to tackle this epidemic. So she hopped on a plane to KC, to see for herself what the buzz is all about. To view one of the ScreenTime segments where START was featured, click here.

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Krista Boan
Phone Free Prom

At START, we believe that digital parenting isn't about taking connection away from our kids...it is about giving them opportunities to taste and see that face to face connection can be even better. So our hearts were warmed when we heard the story of a gentleman who spotted a group of beautiful prom goers at a restaurant, and was inspired to anonymously pay for their meal if they would put their phones away.

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Krista Boan
START + Netsmart

Last week, START visited Netsmart COO Tom Herzog and a great team of leaders, and enjoyed a conversation rich with anecdotes about the importance of water cooler talk with coworkers, and undivided attention with clients. But we also pressed into a question that is easy to avoid: how can healthy tech use in the workplace help their organization make a difference, one person at a time? …

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Krista Boan
START + Kindcraft = Device Free Dessert!

We often get asked what makes START special. Our answer? The way our community has pressed in and grabbed hold of our vision: to raise kids be captivated by life, not screens. Last night, we got to see that vision come to life in a magical way, when we linked arms with an awesome local nonprofit, Kindcraft.

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Krista Boan
Dear Lonely Mom of Older Kids

In a recent survey, Gen Z (ages 18-22) reported the highest loneliness scores…but today’s guest blogger, Rachel Anne Ridge, reveals that teens aren’t the only ones who are lonely. For moms of older kids, ”sharenting” on social media gets complicated, and in the void, loneliness can creep in. If you are in this season of parenthood, we hope you are encouraged by Rachel’s message that you aren’t alone.

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Krista Boan
#1 Thing

This year, START has had the privilege of linking arms with the #zeroreasonswhy teen council, a local mental health campaign tackling the issue of teen suicide in Johnson County. At a recent teen council meeting, teen were asked a poignant question: “What is the number one thing adults can do to support your mental health?”

One young man’s answer stopped us in our tracks: “Put your phones down and listen to us.”

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Krista Boan
The Loneliness Epidemic | Tim DeWeese

Tim DeWeese, Director of Johnson County Mental Health, shares that while we live in the most technologically advanced society in history, recent studies have shown that young adults, ages 18-22, are the most lonely generations of Americans, more disconnected than even the nation’s elderly. “It’s imperative that we as adults model for our kids how to balance tech-time with genuine time, and promote open, honest human relationships. Ultimately, these are the foundation for a strong, healthy community.”

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Krista Boan
Phones Down for the National Championship

At START, we try not to pick favorites. But this Texas Tech team? They are making it hard! It turns out their road to the NCAA National Championship was paved by standing together and rethinking technology. This season, they got into the routine of putting away their phones at night so they could focus on achieving their goals…and getting some rest. Parents—if you are looking for a good way to start a conversation with your kids about device bedtimes, try sharing this article with them, and asking them what they think!

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Krista Boan
Letter to My Grandsons

We love it when grandparents and caregivers attend our START Parent Program, and were especially touched when one grandmother shared with us how she was so encouraged by our START Family Pillars that she wrote a letter to her grandsons, promising to raise them to be digitally healthy. We often share how important it is to not just call our kids away from excess screen time, but to invite them in to something better.

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Krista Boan
What the Tech?!

When you feel like your kids know more about tech than you do, it can be easy to throw your hands in the air and give up on digital parenting. But we want to encourage you that you might know more than you think about technology. Just ask these preschoolers!

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Krista Boan
Unplug with Overland Park

Kudos to the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens for giving families cell phone sleeping bags and free admission this weekend! It can be hard for families to find time to unplug, explore, and make fun memories…but these little green bags are a simple way the City of Overland Park is encouraging the next generation of kids to get curious about the world…and their contributions to it. Thanks, OP, for helping families remember that screens are small, but life is big!

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Krista Boan
START Family Pillars

What exactly does it mean to be a START family? We’re glad you asked! Here are our top five rules of thumb for digital parenting. We hope these pillars are a helpful tool as you navigate your family’s tech life.

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Krista Boan
The Courage to Start

As a single mom, my relationship with my daughter is my top priority in a long list of to-dos everyday.   I would do anything for her well-being, and I try to be intentional about giving her my best each day but like most parents, I make mistakes along this journey…

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Krista Boan
Hopping Off the Screentime Merry-Go-Round

Neurotherapist Susan Dunaway shares that over and over, parents come to her with the same plea for help: “Our kids are great kids, but it seems all their worst behaviors come out when we tell them it’s time to get off their screens. What do we do?” Check out her suggestions for helping your child stay in control when it’s time to hop off the screen time merry-go-round!

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Krista Boan
Giving Your Phone Its Own Spring Break

As my husband and I were prepping and packing for our first vacation sans kids, the first time we were going to be away from our kids in a meaningful way, we realized that we were both at capacity with work, and tapped out emotionally with the day in and day out stress of running a two-career household with busy kids. So, before the trip, we made a pact to put the phones away…

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Krista Boan
The Abundance of the Ordinary

As screens—movies, TV, video games—present a world far more colorful and energetic than the created world itself, they not only ratchet up our expectations for what is significant and entertaining; they also undermine our ability to enjoy what we could call the abundance of the ordinary.  Andy Crouch, author of The Tech-Wise Family, shares more.

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Krista Boan
Unplug with START

We know it might not be practical for every family to make it 24 hours offline—so even if you can only find 30 minutes to unplug and connect with your favorite people, we say it counts! If you want a fun way to let people know you are unplugging, grab an “I unplug” poster here and post it on social media as an “out of office” type message.

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Krista Boan
Our Lunchroom is Loud

At START, we love helping families find time to unplug and connect…and we are champions of schools that strategically find ways to help students connect with each other. This year, a local school district made a bold move and implemented an “away during the day” policy…and we loved hearing one principal’s report of how it is going. Kudos!

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Krista Boan