Our Favorite Nonprofits Working on Tech Safety and Screen Time for our Kids

January 20, 2023

It seems as if everywhere we go there is new, emerging tech ready to captivate us. We know what it’s like to want the newest widget, phone, tablet, etc. While as adults we may be able to manage our own screen time indulgences, our kids are more susceptible and may not understand yet the implications of so much screen time. Thankfully, there are several nonprofit organizations working to bring awareness of the detrimental effects of screen time on our kids and provide amazing alternatives for play and learning. Here are some of our favorites: 

Screen Sanity: Their mission is to “create a world where kids are captivated by life, not screens.” Founded in 2018 by a trio of moms, Screen Sanity helps families and communities pursue digital health in order to reduce loneliness, depression, anxiety and suicide in a socially isolated society.  They tackle hard questions that parent’s face, such as “When should I get my kid a smartphone?” and “How should I prepare them for social media?” As a parent of an elementary school-aged child, these are already questions I’m asking myself. This world is very different from the world I grew up in (hint: cell phones were definitely not a thing when I was a kid/teen) and preparing for this reality is a huge concern of mine. Screen Sanity is a great resource for parents who are struggling, or who want to be more informed, with navigating screens and tech with your kids.

Fairplay: Fairplay is the leading nonprofit organization committed to helping children thrive in an increasingly commercialized, screen-obsessed culture, and the only organization dedicated to ending marketing to children. Their advocacy efforts are grounded in the overwhelming evidence that child-targeted marketing – and the excessive screen time it encourages – undermines kids’ healthy development. If the topic of child-targeted marketing (and its negative effects) has piqued your interest, this is definitely an organization you should check out.

Children’s Screen Time Action Network: The Screen Time Action Network at Fairplay is a coalition of practitioners, educators, advocates, and parents working to promote a healthy childhood by reducing the amount of time kids spend with digital devices. One of their programs, Action Network Live!, brings the leading professionals straight to your living room with videos aimed at educating parents (and their kids!) about a wide range of topics, from giving up screens to cyberbullying and more.

Healthy Screen Habits: This nonprofit has developed five core habits that will help combat some of the most problematic screen-use issues we see today. These five habits provide the biggest “bang for your buck” when it comes to parenting with technology. Here’s a synopsis:

  1. Ask: What's My Purpose? Ask yourself two questions, whenever you pick up your device: 1) What's my purpose in using the device right now? and 2) How long will it take?
  2. The Grandma Rule: Remember the "Grandma Rule" when you're writing a DM (direct message), sending a picture, or posting anything online. If you wouldn't want Granny to see it, don't send it!
  3. Phones Away or Silent: Put your phone away or set it to silent mode when you're working on important tasks or when you're with people. Stay connected to whoever you're with in person.
  4. Put Your Phone to Bed: Decide on a time that you will turn your phone in for the night. Protect your sleep by charging your phone and other devices in the master bathroom instead of your bedroom.
  5. No Phones in Bedrooms: Keep phones and other connected devices out of bedrooms and bathrooms. Tech stays in public spaces. 

Common Sense Media: This organization believes in media that inspires and entertains families of all kinds, in technology that protects privacy and supports communities, and in learning tools that prepare students and teachers for success in a connected world. Common Sense Media provides a range of services, from high-quality media recommendations to internet access for all learners, making media and technology safer, healthier, and more equitable for kids everywhere. If you’re a parent who wants more information about the latest game, app, movie, podcast, book, or TV show your kid is interested in, you should definitely have Common Sense Media’s website bookmarked.  

Children and Screens: This nonprofit was founded by Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, who has spent her career in public service ranging from non-profit development, medicine and philanthropy devoted to children and adolescents. As a parent herself, Dr. Hurst-Della Pietra was curious to understand the cognitive and long-term impacts of frequent technology use among her own children. She started Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development in 2013 to:

Advance funding in the emerging field of digital media and children

  1. Bridge the knowledge gap between researchers, clinician, and other experts from a wide variety of disciplines
  2. Provide parents and educators with the resources and answers to questions they have to raise happy and healthy children in the digital age

The Institute promotes objective, inclusive, integrative scientific research by scholars with diverse perspectives from all relevant disciplines. If this research sounds intriguing to you, check out their website for a ton of resources, publications, and recommendations you can use when deciding how to manage your family’s tech use. 

These organizations are teaching, educating and fighting on behalf of parents everywhere, so we ask you to support them any way that you can.

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