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  • Writer's pictureStacey R. Queen

Create More Art & Take a Break From Social Media

Today's classroom learning for K-12 students looks a lot different than it did a few years ago. Many school districts across the country spend less time teaching the arts and humanities because of budget cuts and a focus more on math and English. Learning how to create a color wheel brings math and visual arts together just as writing a paper about the Harlem Renaissance teaches students about research methodologies and the talented African American visual artists, musicians, poets, and performers of the 1920s and '30s.

Beyond learning about art history timelines, art movements, the elements of art, and the principles of design, a curriculum that includes visual arts lessons in the classroom allows students to think creatively, employ problem-solving techniques, promote critical thinking, encourages students to incorporate visual analysis along the way and even to be compassionate and show empathy (because don't we feel sad that van Gogh suffered from severe depression and "cut off" his ear). When companies search to hire new talent candidates who possess the above attributes make for the best and most productive employees and that foundation all begins in art class.

Last week, former Facebook data scientist Frances Haugen shared with the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security information about the company's harmful impact on young children. Haugen mentioned that:

  • 13.5% of United Kingdom teen girls surveyed said their suicidal thoughts became more frequent after joining Instagram which is owned by Facebook.

  • 17% of teen girls said their eating disorders got worse after using Instagram.

  • 32% of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.

Imagine if our children spent less time on social media platforms and more time being creative and engaging in art-making activities. Providing a camera, sketchbook and pencils, a canvas, paint and paintbrushes or a jewelry-making kit gives a child an opportunity to use their imagination and create something amazing while building their confidence and self-esteem. Social media platforms are great for connecting with family and friends but when it plays a detrimental role in the mental health of our children we must look at alternatives to keep them engaged. Less screen time and more time creating will allow our children to grow into compassionate, healthy, and productive adults.

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