Fighting Tech with Tech: Online Tool Helps Families Reclaim Time

Kids enjoy sunny day lying on dock

If digital gadgets and games are being designed to attract and hold kids’ attention, American pediatricians are pushing back with their own design.

“The goal is to give parents, and everybody really, a visual of how a child’s day maps out and we can really understand what affects the balance in their lives and what you need to do to have a balanced lifestyle,” says Corinn Cross, MD, FAPP, who came up with the idea for the Media Time Calculator, a major piece of the American Academy of Pediatrics new Family Media Plan.

Parents and kids can sit down together and use the calculator to ensure a 24-hour day includes not only screen time, but everything else a child needs to be healthy, balanced, and durable.  

Cross hopes the tool will help families make time decisions based on their own needs and priorities. “We don’t want media use to be the driving force, but just to fill in gaps.”

In the Media Time Calculator, the recommended times for sleep and physical activity are set by default according to a child’s age. You can see in this 3-minute demo how time available for screen-based entertainment quickly disappears:

I define durable human design as “the making and doing of things that promote and advance one’s ability to be an effective, contributing human in a complex and increasingly digital world,” so the Media Time Calculator certainly qualifies.

Get a free 1-page printable Time Priorities checklist to help you help your family spend time wisely.

To design your life so you and your family live in balance and harmony with technology (and everything else), read How To Be a Durable Human: Revive and Thrive in the Digital Age Through the Power of Self-Design.

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9 TED Designs that Promote People

TEDxMidAtlantic stage

The big “D” in TED stands for Design, alongside Technology and Entertainment. These designsfrom TEDxMidAtlanticfoster curiosity, collaboration, and fact-based knowledge. They help people to be more durable in a complex and increasingly digital world.

One design is an object:

The Hemafuse was presented by Carolyn Yarina, CEO of the medical device company Sisu Global HealthThe handheld blood recycler is especially useful in Continue reading

Nature-Play City Park Thrives Near U.S. Capital

Fallen Tree in Constitution Gardens

Not far from downtown Washington, D.C., kids perch on tree branches, dig in the sand, and busily port sticks from one place to another. An adult rests on a swinging bench while someone else sniffs a drift of coriander. This is Constitution Gardens, a different kind of park.

It all started with a competition. The city council of Gaithersburg, Maryland wanted to enliven a sliver of public land that had devolved over the years into a dull, little-used cut-through. The renovation should reflect the many new cultures that now infuse the locale. The new park would be an antidote for what Last Child In The Woods author Richard Louv calls “nature deficit disorder,” a malaise that settles over children when they don’t have enough time outside. Continue reading

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