Media addiction, screen time, constant connectivity, and the pressure of maintaining a “digital” life along with a “physical” life are issues that are becoming increasingly difficult to navigate – especially for our children. This year, we are planning activities for students, staff, and our community to begin an honest and realistic dialogue about these challenges.
“Choose Presence” is an awareness campaign that we have been planning for the past year in response to issues and challenges that we see everyday related to interactive technology and social media. This is not a new “program” and it doesn’t have a formal curriculum. In many ways, we are taking a risk attempting to address these complex social issues. Even the “experts” offer few commonly accepted solutions because there simply hasn’t been enough history to evaluate the impact of these changes. If our research has proven anything, it is commonly understood that these issues are affecting almost every family in some way, and we are all “building the plane as we fly it” though this period of exponential change. When this year is over, we hope to share a few sustainable outcomes to support the community going forward.
We realize the inherent contradiction of using social media and technology to promote this campaign and to share the information and ideas that come from this work. Let’s face it, interactive technology provides unlimited access to knowledge and improves our lives in so many ways – and it will not stop evolving. Through the activities and information sharing of this campaign, we hope to find strategies that will help all of us restore some of the humanity that is often lost in our digital lives without forcefully prying our phones from our increasingly dependent hands and blazing fast thumbs! Hopefully, we can have some fun with this work as we go.
What is the inspiration behind “Choose Presence”? It came from one of our own students! In 2016, Hanover High Senior, Maggie Fuller, created an intensely thought provoking, eight minute video as her senior Humanities project that captures the essence of this challenge with a deep connection to Hanover. We are using Maggie’s message as the cornerstone of this campaign. I strongly encourage you to watch her video and share it with others – you will be impressed with her message and with the incredible work our students are doing: Generation Z: Choose Presence
Thank you for taking the time to read this message and for your ongoing support for our schools and community. We look forward to “Choosing Presence” with all of you this year.