Bringing Screentime To Life

At START, we know screens play a big role in our kids’ lives, and we are passionate about helping families use their kids’ digital world as a way to connect. If your kids love the epic YouTubers Dude Perfect, sit next to them and enjoy watching their amazing stunts. Then go out in the backyard and have a bottle flipping contest. Ultimately, these are the moments that will help your kids keep their eyes on what matters most—the life right in front of them.

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Krista Boan
Camp Unplugged

When 18 year old Tatum Oakley packed her bags for summer camp, she knew that she would be expected to check in her phone. But what she didn’t expect was how much she would learn and grow in her summer of unplugging. At START, we often hear from families who are overwhelmed by helping our teens find balance in their social media lives, so our ears perked up when Tatum shared a powerful secret: one of the best ways to help your teens find digital balance is to offer them rich offline experiences.

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Krista Boan
The Days Are Long

“Five breakdowns and four fruit snack packs into the morning, I find myself checking out and looking for something to numb the frustration that I feel building from the inside out. This is about the time I grab my phone and get on Instagram. Immediately my feed is flooded with filtered squares that deliver a message before I even read the caption…" START parent Cierra Karson shares five fresh ideas on how to handle social media fatigue as a young parent.

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Krista Boan
START Program for Teachers

Teachers like Kathryn Sanfle are on the front lines of the mental health epidemic, seeing some of the harshest sides of our kids’ digital reality—and at START, we think she’s spot on: how powerful would it be if parents and teachers could speak the same language when it comes to adopting healthy screen habits? That’s why we’re here. This fall, based on requests from multiple school administrators, START is releasing a program specifically for teachers and administrators…

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Krista Boan
Real-Life Tech

One of our START Rules of Thumb is: Ride. Practice. Drive… use a driver’s ed approach to tech training. The idea is that before your kid is ready to drive a smart device independently, there is a learner’s permit season—where you log hours in the passenger seat, coaching them for the road. Not sure where to start coaching? We loved these tips from Melissa Griffin, also known as “HR Mom.”

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Krista Boan
Time Alone

We’re not gonna lie: during the summertime chaos, a little screentime can be such a gift—helping everyone in the family to mentally reset. But we were recently reminded by Lin-Manuel Miranda of another good old fashioned trick that might be worth sprinkling into the summer chaos—time alone.

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Krista Boan
More Sunsets, Less Netflix

We know that there are many factors that contribute to your family’s mental wellness.  But this summer, we invite you to journey with us as we ask a question about one of them:  How do our digital habits impact our mental health and wellness?  Together we’ll be looking at how our screens are impacting our minds when it comes to human connection, self-image, and rest…and considering how more sunsets--and less Netflix--might be just what the doctor orders when it comes to supporting your family's mental health. 

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Krista Boan
START + Johnson County Mental Health

As mental health professionals, the staff at Johnson County Mental Health Center are hyper aware of how unhealthy tech use can negatively impact the families they serve—oftentimes creating a barrier in relationships, which are essential for recovery. This week, we were given the privilege of bringing our START program to their staff, and together we considered the role technology has played in exacerbating the side effects they are seeing…

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Krista Boan
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