La Jollan and former teacher Nicole Rawson had to wean one of her school-age children from abusing his leisure computer screen time, which has led to her writing a children’s book about digital wellness, “Screen Smart Sam.”
Rawson’s book is a compelling story about the dangers of unrestrained childhood leisure screen time. It highlights the very relevant struggles parents face now with solutions to turn bad habits around.
Rawson hopes her new book, to be published soon, will be a primer helping parents solve similar computer-obsession problems with their offspring.
“I quit teaching to work on this project addressing problems parents were having using (computer) screens in schools for non-educational purposes,” Rawson said. “So I created Screen Time Clinic, a parent coaching company. The company helps the parent focus the children away from leisure computer screen time-wasting.”
Added Rawson: “I’ve noticed younger and younger children are really having screen-dependency problems. It’s affecting them in school. Kindergartners can’t pay attention in class. There are also cyber-safety issues arising from young children being allowed access to the internet without limitations. So I wrote a children’s book as a way of reaching a younger audience and their parents.”
Of her book, Rawson said: “It’s written in gender-neutral terms so that children can relate to the main character Sam, and the addictive nature of computer screens. They follow Sam on a journey from being a screen-obsessed youngster to being a confident, screen-smart teen.”
Rawson added her book teaches parents “proven methods for preventing screen-dependency problems.”
And Rawson has practical experience with the issue, having broken one of her two sons’ computer obsession. “He’s chosen to take flying lessons that lead to a lifelong passion after leisure screen time was removed at age 14 for 60 days, and severely restricted thereafter, as recommended by therapists and pediatricians when behavior and grade problems arose from his overuse or gaming addictions,” she said. “That never would have happened without taking screens away from him.”
To fund the publishing of her new book, Rawson has done an online Kickstarter program that has raised nearly $4,000 in about a month.
“I’ve done Kickstarter to bring my book to market and to garner donations of books to schools,” Rawson said. “It hasn’t been published yet but we do have a publisher. It’s (book’s) been gaining feedback from schools too.”
New York-based Kickstarter is a public benefit corporation whose stated mission is to "help bring creative projects to life.” As of December 2019, Kickstarter had received more than $4.6 billion in pledges from 17.2 million backers to fund 445,000 projects. Those projects have included films, music, stage shows, comics, journalism, video games, technology, food, and publishing.
A single mom with two teenage boys, Rawson is enjoying her new career endeavor as a mentor and coach. “As a teacher, I wanted to help other people having a hard time with their own kids,” she said. “I wanted to help them find resources on how they can limit leisure screen time.”
To order or for more information on Nicole Rawson’s book, visit ScreenSmartFamilies.org.