Why Screentime Is Good

Jaime Bancroft Gennaro

November 30, 2015

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It's impossible to make the argument as a 'technologist' for less screen-time; screens are what move our current innovations forward. Google Cardboard has us staring at our phones, car technology has us peeking over at dashboard screens, and smart watches provide us with miniature screens. This is why I'm an advocate. But I'm also human, and I know there should be limitations to our dependence on these items in our lives.

How can we push innovation without a screen?

Cubetto by Primo is a great new toy designed for kids that teaches them basic programming. The wooden play board has different shaped blocks that they move around on the "code" line. The wooden cubetto robot is what they are programming as they move the blocks around. They press the button to see the resulting function of the code they created. Amazing.

Coding is a creative skill, an experimental art form. If this, then that; cause and effect - these are skills that people of all ages should have at the ready. So how do we explore the art of coding without the confines of the solutions we've created up until now?

Google Creative Director Tom Uglow explored this topic in a Ted Talk in May of this year.

"It's a really extraordinary period of human history. We are the people that actually build our world...it's us, designers, architects, artists, engineers...it may seem inevitable that what the public wants is watches and websites and widgets, maybe we could give a bit of thought to cork and light and hack sacks."

It is up to us to move into the imaginary, the literary, the artist's side of code to create a world that feels more natural and intuitive, and less disruptive on your sleep than that of the glowing rectangle.

Which leads me to the conclusion that I am no longer an advocate of the screen, I'm an advocate of coding as art and of pushing the boundaries of the possible.

Jaime Bancroft Gennaro is the CEO of Neologic, a digital experience agency with an imagination lab. Neologic is proud of the recent launch of their two in-house projects: Cornbread App and Poetry for Robots @jaimegennaro @neologicpdx

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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