Does this scene look familiar? Chances are, it does.
Last week, Common Sense Media reported that young kids are spending significantly more time on devices than they were just five years ago. According to the report, the time spent by kids staring at mobile devices is 48 minutes per day — “up from 5 minutes in 2011 and 15 minutes in 2013.” A study by the Pediatric Academic Societies released earlier this year suggests that the increase in device usage by children may contribute to slower speech development.
To curb what many see as an epidemic of electronic device usage, some professionals are suggesting parents should establish times and areas in which devices are off-limits — not just for their kids, but for everyone.
Common Sense Media appears to be on board with this plan, having recruited no less than comedy icon Will Ferrell to star in some PSAs urging parents to pull the reins on screen time in their homes. Funny or Die, a company in which Ferrell is a stakeholder, is a distribution partner for the clips.
The PSAs are part of a campaign called #DeviceFreeDinner and feature an oblivious Ferrell fixated on his phone as his family’s conversations and lives pass him by.
The tone of the videos is dark but successfully conveys that if parents are unable to put down their phones, there’s little chance that they’ll be able to effectively govern their kids’ usage as well. Many feel the issue will get far worse before it gets better, so pulling out a big gun like Will Ferrell may open a few eyes to previously unrecognized behaviors and drive the point home.