Heed the Children (HTC) is a movement of everyday people committed to protecting children from the destructive effects smartphones and social media are having on their mental and physical health.
Our mission is to raise awareness to the numerous sufferings our children are experiencing due to their exposure to smart phones and social media, including depression, bullying, addiction, and difficulties with attention. With the average teenager spending 7-11 hours online a day, our kids are being raised by technology designed to keep them addicted so that tech companies can maximize their profits. While online, our children’s developing minds are deprived of everyday face-to-face interactions with peers, grown-ups and nature – stunting their emotional, cognitive, social, physical and spiritual growth.
What can we do?
The US Surgeon General is advocating for parents to take collective action and keep our children off social media until the age of 16. While this issue seems too big and overwhelming, together we have more power than we think. We are asking parents, teachers, social workers, artists, youth leaders and anyone who cares about children to get involved in some way. Our children need us to come together and pool our resources (time, skills, experiences, etc) and empower each other to address these pervasive and destructive technologies. You are not alone – we have each other.
Together, we can:
- Eliminate and/or greatly diminish the use of unhealthy social technologies from our children’s lives
- Replace these technologies with online and offline alternatives that promote the best in our children
- Cultivate a world where children feel connected to themselves, each other, and nature
What does this look like in action?
This movement is already in action. Below are some ideas about how you can join this movement:
- Learn About the Issues and Solutions: Here is a resource list of scientific research, movies, articles and books about social tech issues, and other practical resources – like unplugging campaigns, tools to navigate screen time, smartphone replacements, and non-tech adventure-learning opportunities. You will also find those advocating for legal reforms, and digital wellbeing organizations and experts.
- Sign the Pledge: Parents and caregivers are banding together to prevent children from accessing social media platforms and having smartphones until at least 16 years old. We can care for each other with the resources above, and partner with other parents, teachers, coaches, youth group leaders, etc in our children’s lives. Sign the pledge, share it with others and begin supporting them.
- Create a Parent or Student Group at Your School: We are reaching out to local parent groups (like PTAs) and student groups (like youth clubs) to inspire them to find ways they can support each other and unite around keeping their children’s young minds safe from these technologies. Learn more about this opportunity here.
- Become a Partner: There are many powerful individuals and organizations working on this critical issue. Pooling our resources will exponentially grow each other’s impact. For example, we partnered with #HalfTheStory, intergenerational pioneers in youth digital wellbeing. They empower youth to create a healthy relationship with tech, share their stories of social tech struggles and triumphs, start peer support groups, and advocate for law and policy change. Contact us to learn more: firstname.lastname@example.org
The movement’s beginnings
Heed The Children is an initiative of the non-profit Leap Forward community. Like you, we come from all walks of life and deeply care about our children. We are passionate about supporting children to develop self-esteem, curiosity, critical thinking, healthy social and peer interactions, and a connection with nature. We devote our resources to creating healthy environments for children and adults alike.