Yarmouth Slow Tech

is a social movement powered ​by collective action in service to ​youth mental health and ​human connection.

We’re part of an ecosystem!

Turn the Tide


White Wave Line

Mission & Vision

We are founded on the growing data that shows children and teens’ developing brains and bodies are ​frequently harmed by what we’ve collectively accepted as normal technology use–until now.


We believe we can be each other’s answer to the overwhelm.



Our mission

is to combat the youth mental health crisis by empowering Yarmouth citizens to consider our relationships to technology, ​ourselves and each other; to provide the resources, discussions and community needed to make informed, deliberate ​choices about the presence of tech in our daily lives; and to prioritize free play, socialization and progressive independence ​for kids and teens; fostering the durable relationships and habits of mind that help families flourish.



Our vision

is to be a model for prosocial behavior in a community that has the resources children, teens, and adults ​need to create ​healthy, fulfilling, and socially integrated lives;

a community where technology plays a supporting role to human connection;

a community where all people know that they matter right here, right now, as they are.



Yarmouth, Maine

2024



SHORT FORM:

Yarmouth Slow Tech is a social movement promoting informed, deliberate technology use and real-world experiences to ​address the youth mental health crisis through community support and collective action. We offer education, discussion, ​socialization and play opportunities to foster prosocial behavior in a community where technology supports human connection ​and people know they matter.



KID FORM:

Yarmouth Slow Tech is a group of people who want to help kids and grown-ups make good choices about how and when ​they use screens such as iPads, phones, watches, and computers.


We also want to help kids have more play time, feel comfortable around other people, and do more things on their own or with ​their friends.


Our dream is that by talking, learning and working together, our families can all feel less stressed, be more healthy, and have ​more fun as we grow, explore and try new things.


~


(this is a living document, still in workshop and review)



If you‘re writing a similar Mission & Vision statement, we‘re happy to share the questions we used to hone language and objectives before beginning a three-month draft and review process-–a process that‘s ​been helpful in surfacing valuable insights, conversations and connections. While we‘ve given permission to mission-aligned organizations to adapt portions of our work for their own purposes, we appreciate ​being in touch if you‘d like to do the same: chelsea@yarmouthslowtech.org


Thank you!


What happens when a community asks:

Is this “the way life should be”?

Let’s find out.


New eras ask for new questions.


And we’re making space for conversation. Starting wi​t​h:


What conditions do kids, teens, adults–and even communiti​e​s–


need to thrive in the Digital A​ge?

3 ideas worth exploring

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happy family

Techquilibrium & ​New Norms


Tech is here to stay; that’s not ​to say current habits should.


We’re interested in:

Reassessing our habits and use of ​technology to ensure that tech ​serves us, not the other way ​around; informing ourselves ; ​preparing, educating, and ​sometimes safeguarding kids and ​teens during vulnerable periods of ​brain, body, and social ​development.


Potentially:

Delaying smartphones for kids ​until high school (or beyond), ​waiting to use social media until ​age 16 (or later), supporting ​smartphone-free schools, shifting ​social norms around when/how ​phones are used with other people ​present; considering new tech and ​smartphone alternatives; and ​asking legislators to hold tech ​companies to higher standards.


Play-based

Childhood

What we know: Kids need ​play, risk, responsibility and ​independence to grow.


We’re interested in:

Giving kids more opportunities for ​all of these things; building adult ​confidence in kids’ autonomy; ​creating more spaces/scenarios ​that are supportive for teens too; ​investigating the opportunity costs ​of current screen use and filling ​gaps in social learning ​opportunities. And socializing ​these ideas.


Potentially:

Changing norms around the age at ​which kids do things such as bake, ​bike alone, make purchases in a ​store, learn to whittle, adventure ​with their friends, pet sit,etc; ​educating the public about real ​risks and even laws; creating more ​experiences and spaces that kids ​and teens are welcome in without ​(necessarily) spending money, ​asking good questions about ​what’s possible with the resources ​we already have--used in novel ​ways.


Real-World ​Relief, Fun, ​Responsibility

& Connection

Otherwise known as: LIFE, ​enlarged


We’re interested in:

How an individual’s changes make ​changes more possible for others, ​how collective actions lower ​pressures and barriers while ​enhancing community. How ​people come to know that they ​matter and belong.


Potentially:

Digital agency: Using tech to free ​our time, not drain it; resource ​sharing and offering more ​opportunities for education, ​support, and socialization--plus ​new ways of being--that takes ​pressure off kids and teens, but ​also adults, allowing them to find ​their own sense of play too.; ​modeling what the real world and ​real social networks have to offer. ​Being open and reflective about ​what we discover along the way.


When tech is necessary: Narrate, ​explain the why, and repair as ​needed. We’re all human.



A further question:


Changing behaviors, holding boundaries and stepping outside of ​comfort zones are hard things to do. . .


What can we offer along the way to make these things easier, more ​attractive, and more sustainable for more people?



“This is is a crucial read for parents of children of elementary school age and beyond, who face the rapidly changing landscape of ​childhood. Haidt lays out problems but also solutions for making a better digital life with kids.”

- Emily Oster, New York Times bestselling author of Expecting Better


book talk:

THE

ANXIOUS ​GENERATION


by Jonathan Haidt

a community read & facilitated discussion of the #1 New York Times bestseller

hosted by Yarmouth PTO

A SERIES IN THREE PARTS (join for ANY OR ALL)

Yarmouth Elementary School

all sessions 6:30-8:00 PM


Tuesday, July 23rd

Chpts. 1-4 / INTRO & THE BACKSTORY: THE DECLINE OF THE PLAY-BASED CHILDHOOD


Tuesday, July 30th

Chpts. 5-8 / THE GREAT REWIRING: THE RISE OF THE PHONE-BASED CHILDHOOD


Wednesday, August 21st

Chpts. 9-12 & conclusion / COLLECTIVE ACTION FOR HEALTHIER CHILDHOOD


Join us this summer for the first in a new series of Yarmouth Reads, exploring topics worth talking about ​in community. The discussion will be followed by light refreshments and casual conversation. ​Opportunities to delve into related topics will continue through the fall with a Parent Ed series TBA.



HOW REQUIRED IS THE READING?

Let’s put it this way: Reading “Anxious Generation” is worthwhile, but not required. ​And there are a variety of ways to access the book’s content (see below).


If you’re curious, we hope you’ll join us. No one will be put on the spot!



Royal River Books has multiple copies of “Anxious Generation”

in stock at a 10% discount for “community read” attendees.



MORE OPTIONS:

The Anxious Generation site is full of resources, including this summary of evidence ​and regularly updated Collaborative Review documents. Jonathan Haidt’s Substack, ​After Babel is another way to experience the content one chapter at a time.


FYI on Library editions: Yarmouth’s Merrill Memorial Library (and connected lenders) ​has had over 100 hold requests for several months.


A free digital edition (and an audio option) can be accessed by Merrill Memorial ​Library cardholders via Cloud Library.


The Audio book is included on Spotify’s Premium service as well as services such as:


Numerous podcasts! If you’d like to access the information in conversation, here are a ​few of varying lengths:


NPR (7 min. listen)

The New Yorker (28 min.) or see the edited transcript

Dr. Becky - Good Inside (51 min.)

Hidden Brain (58 min.)


Video selections: Jonathan Haidt on The Today Show (13 min), The Daily Show (16 ​min), on stage at the National Summit on Education (52 min) and in conversation with ​the Wall Street Journal (21 min) below:

Yarmouth Slow Tech

yarmouthslowtech.org

YES,

YARMOUTH!

ROWE

Y.E.S.

&

HARRISON*

are official Wait Until 8th pledge schools

Wait Until 8th is a national nonprofit that helps parents delay smartphone use by identifying a community support ​system of other parents when they pledge not to give their child a smartphone until at least the end of 8th grade if not ​longer--provided at least 10 other families from their child’s grade and school identify themselves with the pledge too.

(but what does it mean?)

It means that if you’re waiting until the end of 8th grade–if not later–to give ​your child a smartphone, you’re not alone.


There are over 100 Yarmouth kids whose families have already taken a (semi) ​public pledge to delay smartphone use until high school.


It means there are other families to talk to.


There are other families to point to when you hear, “But everybody...”


There’s the chance that this just might become normal.


Or even cool.


In May of 2024, enough Yarmouth families made the commitment to delay ​smartphone use until high school that both William H. Rowe School and ​Yarmouth Elementary School appeared on the Wait Until 8th website among ​the first five schools in Maine with 10 or more families in each class taking the ​pledge. *In July, Harrison Middle School will make the cut as the class of 2031 ​advances to 6th grade.


If you have a child who graduates after the year of 2030, there ​are at minimum ten other families in your child’s class year ​who are making the same choice as you–but likely many ​more.


Among the first 154 parents to respond to our survey, over 40% said that their ​family had made the decision to delay smartphones until the end of 8th grade, ​but had not taken the pledge.


Over 20% of respondents were considering the pledge, but had not yet ​decided. And 14% of respondents said they are delaying both smartphones ​and smartwatches until at least the summer before high school.


There are many reasons families don’t pledge and we have heard a wide ​variety of them. There is not a one-size-fits-every-family or every-community ​remedy, but the fact that people are not just thinking through these decisions, ​but talking and getting curious about what others are thinking is part of the ​beauty of the pledge: It’s also helpful to talk about why you aren’t taking it.


And here’s the thing: What if some families aren’t signing because they’re ​thinking they’ll go further: Perhaps wait until their child gets their first job? Or ​turns 16?


What if the families who are signing the pledge are considering options like ​adopting a family flip phone? Wouldn’t it be nice to know?


In the meantime, we’re recruiting WaitUntil8th class ambassadors:


We currently have 3 ambassadors for

every class year through 6th grade!


And we’d like more! We're looking for 3-6 parents to "adopt" each class year as ​connection points, event hosts, and communicators, ideally committed ​through 8th grade.


You will be a community liaison for your class, welcoming new members, ​holding social events with your co-leads (or larger cohort as feels appropriate) ​and connecting with the classes above and below you, particularly when ​advancing to a new school.


The structure may look different from class year to class year—it's up to the ​ambassadors to decide what feels right.


If you’re interested, let us know! We’re happy to have more for any class, ​especially if you’d like to join the single ambassadors of 7th (2030) & 8th (2029) ​grades.


The goal is to represent various social circles, neighborhoods, teachers, etc. ​with 3-6 parents from each graduation year. Please help spread the word!


See also:

“Meet the Wellesley psychiatrist who wants families to ban ​smartphones before 8th grade” (Boston Globe)






MEMBERS

*denotes a ​WU8th class ​ambassador



founding members

*Sheila Carroll

*Chelsea DeLorme



seeding members

Vanessa Barton

*Heather Wiggins Berger

*Karina Chandler

*Shannon Cummings

Damaris Drummond

*Deidre Fogg

Kate MacGilpin

*Hannah Magee

Kai McGintee

Jenny James

Jill Sady

Todd Severson

*Kaytrue Ting Staley



growing members

*Vanessa Holcomb Mann

*Paige Carter

*Sarah Fischer

Emily Murray

Danielle Smaha

Sadie Jones

Sara Pinto

Jessie McGrath

*Jen Runge

Lindy Graham

Clare Dwyer

Kristina McElhinney

Mary-Jo Valentino

*Libby Chamberlain

Mary D. Gallaudet

*Erin Olson

Anaïs Ziedins

Noah DeLorme

*Emily Bates

*Sarah Ferguson


and more




CONTACT

chelsea@yarmouthslowtech.org


a poem for you

we did exist once

Ok what if

Just bear with me here

What if we all

Woke up

One day

And all our phones

Had


Disappeared


Whoa where is my

Honey did you move my

Mom do you know where my

I can’t find mine either


And we would all flounder

For a while

Go to our laptops

And tablets

To feel

“Connected”

But then

When we left the house

We’d reach into our

Pockets

Bags

Purses

And find


Nothing


And soon maybe

Sooner even than we’d expect

We’d start to feel

Relieved

Our brains

Filling up

With

The world

Around us

The sky

The tree

Our own footsteps


We might even start to feel

Ourselves

Making choices


That are not just

Which app

To

Push

Next


I don’t wish harm on the phones

Not really

I know I would

miss mine

very much


But we did exist once

without them

In our pockets

Our bags

Our purses

And we were

Fine


Really


We were fine