The Screen Safe Program
We've all seen the problems that compulsive use of social media can cause, especially for young people. While all social media usage isn’t necessarily bad, there are real dangers when usage is uncontrolled or unsupervised. Consider:
- Over half of young cell phone users have been victims of cyber bullying (and less than 10% of them will ask for help)
- Texting while driving causes more accidents than drunken driving
- 95% of teens have been exposed to online pornography
- Social media is a primary gateway to sex trafficking and other predatory situations.
- There is a serious lack of knowledge by parents, school administrators, youth leaders and peers on how to help.
We've assembled a team of training and social media experts to develop an online training course to teach adults to identify when social media use becomes a problem and to assist those who are struggling with compulsive or dangerous usage. This course will be available to parents, teachers, youth leaders and care-givers to assist them to understand the dangers of social media overuse, and how to help.
The Screen Safe program will be offered on a subscription basis and will include an online training course and updates will be sent covering current social media threats and the tools and methods needed to protect those you care about.
The program will include chapters on the following:
- Defining the Problem
- The Danger Apps
- Recognizing Problem Usage
- What Actions Can I Take?
- What's Next? - Resources for Parents, Teachers & Youth Leaders
The development script is complete, and the interface has been designed, but donations are needed to complete and launch the program. All funding will go directly to the development of this critically needed program.
Distracted driving - Cell phones have made distracted driving a national epidemic. State patrol officers who deal with crashes every day see the phone as the new ‘open bottle’ in the car that makes drivers impaired and dangerous.
Texting violations have increased steadily since 2012, contributing to an average of nearly 60 distracted driving deaths in Minnesota each year. (MN. Depart. of Public Safety, 2018).
Compulsive Use (Addictive behavior) – Nearly half (47 percent) of teens who have a Smartphone say they are “addicted” to it. (Common Sense Media Survey)
Digital games can be addictive, and those addicted to them need help. (The World Health Organization, 2018)
The effect of social media on the teen brain is a well-documented research topic. Students are being diagnosed with social media addictions that complicate their course of treatment in drug rehabilitation centers
Pornography - Over 90% of teens have been exposed to pornography online. As many as 26 percent of teens have participated in sexting (either sending or receiving) explicit photos of themselves or others. (Multiple studies). The average age a person in the U.S. is first exposed to pornography is approximately five years old. (The availability of obscene material on the internet. Laaser, M. (2000.) Pornography can be harmful to persons of any age and the dangers are many. Pornography teaches unrealistic and inappropriate sexual expectations, decreases satisfaction with monogamy and lowers family loyalties, objectifies and degrades women, links sex with violence and children, encourages promiscuity, and increases susceptibility to sexually acting out in ways harmful to others. (Pornography's effects on adults and children. Cline, V. B. 2002)
Sex Trafficking – Children on their phones are experiencing an increase of exposure to predators posing as ‘friends.’. Traffickers worldwide are increasingly using social media to contact vulnerable teenagers and sell them into sex work. Once limited to luring victims in the street, traffickers can now message thousands of people through Instagram, Facebook, Kik, Tagged and Twitter, with WhatsApp and Snapchat some of the latest tools in their arsenal. (The Thomson Reuters Foundation, 2015)
"It takes 24 hours to traffic a kid from the time they meet them online. 24 hours." (Cathie Bledsoe, the Indiana State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, 20180
Problem Behavior - Steady diet of technology we consume is delaying the development of the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This coupled with the fairly well-developed reward system which manages pleasure and reward can why their behaviors often seem totally irrational.
According to Theresa Battle, Asst. Superintendent St. Paul Schools, “The students are coming in much more stressed. Some of them are dealing with significant trauma and they do not have the positive tools to deal with conflicts and stress, and it is exacerbated with teenagers’ use of social media,”
Cyber Bullying - Technology has increased exposure to ridicule and bullying exponentially. One classmate’s mean-spirited remark on social media can quickly morph into an all-out cyber campaign of hate with victim's exposed to nonstop bullying, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Half of our teens have been the victim of cyberbullying, and only 10% will ask for help.
Use of Funds
The "Screen Safe" Program
Phase #1 Funding Goal of the Screen Safe program is $30,000. This program is in production now and as funds are raised they will be used to enrich the depth of the program. Enhancements include hiring actors to portray compulsive users and the correct, and incorrect responses by parents to unhealthy behavior. These scenes will be taped and edited by video professionals. We'll add additional interactions to more fully involve the users of the program in the subjects covered. Additionally, we're currently forming focus groups of young social media users to provide input about the most current apps and the new dangers. We'd like to offer stipends to the youth who are dedicating their time to this project and this is all part of our phase #1 development.
Please partner with us to make this program all it can be. Click on "Our Team" to see some of the dedicated professionals donating their time to helping this program become reality. Without their help the Screen Safe program would cost approximately $70,000 to produce. Click the "Donate" button on the top of the page now to join our team and help enrich this program.
Phase #2 Funding – When the initial production funding is attained we will continue into Phase 2 development. This program component is a quality, bound and illustrated leaders guide to facilitate discussion within the family, youth groups and school classes. This leaders guide will sync with the material presented in the online “Screen Safe” program and can be used as either a stand-alone study or used in connection with the online program. Because encouraging open discussion between young social media users and responsible adults, the leaders guide is a critical part of the overall Screen Safe program. Phase #2 goal is $15,000
Screen Safe - Youth Edition
Phase #3 Funding – When both the Phase #1 and Phase #2 production funding is reached we will move to Phase 3, which is development of a second online training program directed at youth ages 5 to 15. This program will provide valuable training on keeping safe while online. This program is intended to be completed by a young person prior to or in connection with getting a first mobile device. It will contain a number of video scenarios enacting the possible dangers associated with social media. It will include guidelines on how the young person can enjoy safe and responsible device use. Upon successful completion of the program a graduation certificate can be printed to be shown to parents and teachers and as a reminder to the youth to stay "Screen Safe". Phase #3 goal is also $15,000.
Individual sponsors – We need your help to complete the Screen Safe program. As a thank you for your help we will provide a token allowing one subscription to the Screen Safe program for each contribution of $25. Donations of over $1,000 will be acknowledged in the program credits.
Corporate Sponsors – We are actively soliciting corporate sponsorships. For each sponsorship of $1,000 we will provide an acknowledgment of your contribution in the closing credits of the program and 50 tokens for ScreenSafe subscriptions. For contributions of $10,000 we will work with you to design a special notice of appreciation, featuring your logo, in the program credits.