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!