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Device Free Dessert event!

Being a superhero isn't always easy. Sometimes, you have to do things that take you out of your comfort zone. Well that is just what we did at our last KindCraft event. KindCraft families gathered together at Olathe Northwest High School and were led through a device free dessert by a team of superheroes. For many, placing their cell phones in a box, out of hands reach during some family time, is a challenge and makes us feel uncomfortable!

Recent research suggests that frequent cell phone use impacts our communication with others. When cell phones are in hand, we are more distracted and less in tune to the face to face conversation that is in front of us. This detachment affects our ability to understand and share the feelings of the person we are communicating with. Empathy requires paying attention to close detail and active listening.

Our mission at KindCraft is to teach children to be compassionate to others. In order to instill compassion in others, our children need to be paying attention to those around them. They need to be able to look someone in the eyes and hear in their voice that they need help or are hurting. As if this task isn’t hefty enough, it will be even that much harder if they grow up in a world that makes it acceptable to replace good conversations with the distraction of technology.

KindCraft partnered up with S.T.A.R.T-Stand Together and Rethink Technology for our Device Free Dessert event held at Olathe Northwest High School on April 16, 2019. START is a local nonprofit whose goal is to establish a new norm in Kansas City of families who stand together and rethink technology - developing healthy habits, values and training for tech use.

At the beginning of the event, co-founder, Krista Boan, showed a clip from the movie Wall-E and had the kids look for accidents that happen when people are too focused on technology. One 7 year old KindCrafter noticed that the characters in the movie didn't noticed the beauty of the world around them when they were so focused on their screens. She also said they were "missing the moment".

Krista talked about the importance of instilling compassion and empathy for those we care most about-our immediate family and friends that we interact with on a daily basis. If we can master good communication skills in our own homes, without the distractions of technology, maybe our children will be inclined to be more engaged with their conversations outside of the home-developing deeper friendships and the ability to empathize with others.

START has developed five pillars to help families develop healthy relationships with technology. At the event, we focused on the second pillar-tables and bedtimes and how to create device free spaces in the home.

KindCraft President, Courtney Smith, explained to families that they would have the opportunity to practice having a device free meal-dessert! Many kids were excited to be eating dessert for dinner :) KindCrafters were given the option to put their cell phones in a special box in the center of the table that said "It's family time...hand over the electronics."

Everyone received a colorful placemat filled with conversation starters and fun games to play as a family. It was easy to tell which games were favored by KindCrafters because you could hear and see them playing the "Different Drummer" game and see the laughter that came from playing "Two Truths and a Tall Tale".

Special thanks to some awesome Olathe Northwest students who performed a short skit of how NOT to have a device free dinner :) They then followed up with how a device free dinner could look. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to help us! Thanks to KindCrafters Emma and Madisynn for jumping in on the acting too! They all did such a great job!

Here is a copy of their lines from the skit.

Part 1: NOT Device Free-everyone at the table has a device.

**The mother brings out crescent rolls to serve dinner, places it on the table. She takes a picture of it.

MOM- Dear loyal facebook followers, look at this lovely meal I just baked for my family.

(She takes a picture of her husband) MOM- My husband is working! #hashtag work grind! (The dad is on the phone, a work call.) DAD- I'm tellin you Bob, unless the company puts down 3% it's no deal for me.

(She takes a picture of her daughter) MOM- Beautiful daughter Mary has friend over, silly girls always texting!

DAUGHTER (MARY)- lol, ttyl, xox Daughter's friend- LOL! MOM- And lastly Luke and his gamer buddy, hashtag my hero.

SON (Luke)- I LOVE fortnite! Son's friend- yeah! LUKE- I'm hungry!! MOM- Can somebody pass Luke the crescent rolls?

DAD- I can't I'm on a work call. You do it. MOM- I can't I'm on facebook!

Mary- I can't I'm texting her. Daughter's friend- I can't I'm texting her. MOM- boys? {They're too busy gaming. Everyone starts to pass the crescent rolls hot potato style, and soon they fall to the floor.)

LUKE- Victory Royale!! (He dances on the cresent rolls.) ALL- if only we weren't on our technology!


Part 2: Device Free-one cell phone sitting in the middle of the table. **The seen resets. The mother serves dinner. MOM- Dinner is served everyone.

DAD- Let me help you with that honey.

MOM- Thank you! LUKE-Thanks mom and dad. Mary and Luke- Pass the crescent rolls.

­ MARY- Oh no, Luke you go first. LUKE- Dad, can you pass the rolls? DAD- Sure! And great eye contact, sport. MARY- Speaking of sports, soccer tryouts were after school today.

MOM- How did they go, Mary? MARY- I think I did well. ALL- Great job! MARY- But I don't think coach noticed... He was too busy on his phone.

ALL- Dang... LUKE- Dinner is great! ALL- (praise the dinner) (A phone rings, it sits in the middle of the table. Everyone reaches for it, but then stops. They all shake their fingers) ALL- no phones at dinner!


You will notice we don't have any pictures of families eating their cake or chatting. That's because all phones were put away and families were focused on spending time together! Here are a few pictures of some of the families sitting together prior to dessert ;)

Delicious cake was precut and enjoyed by all. There was nothing more rewarding then seeing families spend time together laughing and talking. Nobody seemed to miss their phones too much!

Wonder Woman even stopped by to join in on the fun. When she stopped at one table, the family was discussing one of the conversation starters from their placemats. The question was, "If you had to eat just one food for the rest of your life, what would you pick?" Answers included ice cream, peanut butter, pizza and....SARDINES! Yes that is right-Wonder Woman said she would pick sardines which caused quite a reaction from the table.

As families left for the night, they stopped for a quick picture with Wonder Woman. KindCraft highly recommends her and all of her princess and superhero friends at This Princess Life for any of your future party needs.

KindCraft is so appreciative of the knowledge and tips shared from these superheroes from START. The insight they provided, and the age appropriate delivery they gave to families really was incredible. We strongly encourage you to look more into START. With their guidance and tips, a healthy relationship with technology will have such a positive impact for your family.

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