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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Abstract

The above picture illustrates a child in the backseat of a car, fixated on an electronic device. Our project focuses on educating parents about the adverse impacts of early exposure to screen media and to providing a solution to entertain their child without using means of electronic devices through Project E³, which comprises of two projects, ‘My First Box' and ‘Free From Es!'. This project also assesses the feasibility of our two projects as well its ambitions for future plans.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter 1:  Introduction ………………………………………………………………………….6

1.1  Current Situation …………………………………………………………….……....7

1.2  Impacts …………………………………………………....…………….…….……..9

1.3  Current Efforts …………………………………………………………..…...……..14

1.4  Choice of Audience ………..……………………………………………………….18

1.5  Rationale …………………………………………………………………………...20

1.6  Our Aims…………………………………………………………………………….21

1.7  Approach …………………………………………………………………………...22

Chapter 2:  Research to Design ………………………………………………………..………..23

2.1  Purpose of Case Studies ……………………………………………………….…...24

2.2  Case Study 1: Nudge Theory …………………………………………………….....24

2.3  Case Study 2: Event Marketing …………………………………………………….25

2.4 Application ………………………………………………………………………….26

Chapter 3:  Project Plans ………………………………………………………………………..27

3.1  Overview ……………………………………………………………………………28

3.2  Inspiration for Kids' Paradise ………………………………………………………30

3.3  Features of Kids' Paradise ………………………………………………………….34

3.4  Inspiration for Free From Es! ……………………………………………………....35

3.5  Features of Free From Es! ……………………………………………………...…..36

3.6  Project E³ …………………………………………………………………………...41

Chapter 4:  Evaluation …………………………………………………………………………..42

4.1  Feasibility …………………………………………………………………………...43

4.2  Manageability.……………………………………………………………………...45

4.3 Meeting our Aims …………………………………………………………………...47

4.4 Future Plans ………………………………………………………………………....48

4.5 Conclusion …………………………………………………………………………..49

Bibliography …………………………………………………………………………………….50

Annexes ………………………………………………………………………………………....56

Editor's Note

Our chapter dividers are designed in such a way where it tells a story of how a child starts off with bad vision (spectacles), obesity and electronics devices in his mind as those are the negative impacts of early exposure to electronic devices. Gradually over time as the Written Report progresses, the child starts to lose the negative impacts one by one and turns them into good habits instead, like exercising, board games and better vision. This symbolises the change in the child's mental and physical well-being when the issue is solved with parents playing a key role in resolving the situation. This goes in hand with the theme of our project plan which is to educate parents to aid their child's development and highlights the long-term and progressive benefits that it might have on their child to improve the current situation.

1.1 Current Situation

In just four years, the amount of time children under 9 years old spend on mobile devices has tripled  Children in Singapore spend more time online compared to those in other countries as they are glued to their screens for 35 hours a week - three hours more than the global average

1.2 Impacts

1. Social

The early exposure of electronic devices to children may lead to a lack of personal relationships. Verbal communication is essential to human development, but nonverbal communication, or body language, reveals even more about a person's emotions. Without enough face-to-face communication, these nonverbal cues are unable to develop properly, skewing children's relationships with others as they grow up in a technology-inclusive society

2. Emotional

Children who use electronic devices at an early age have increased chances of being diagnosed with attention deficits. Over the past decade, the number of kids diagnosed with the disorder surged by over 50%. The rise in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has coincided with the rise of mobile devices

3. Physical

Screen media exposure is one of the best-documented causes of obesity in children. In a longitudinal study in New Zealand, up to 17% of the overweight prevalence observed at 26 years of age was estimated to be attributable to viewing more than 2 hours of television per day on weekdays during childhood

If a child spends a large portion of their formative years staring at a screen, a child's developing vision would essentially be trained to focus on near-field objects. Over time, it is possible to lose the ability of focusing on faraway objects, leaving them with permanently near-focused eyes

4. Cognitive

When children spend too much time watching any form of screen content, it lowers their executive function skills. If children focus too much on just one thing and do little of anything else, such as talking with their parents or running around outdoors, then many other connections might not be made. Over time, those unused connections are snipped away. This “synaptic pruning” occurs mostly during early childhood, before a child turns four, and cannot be undone, said Dr Gail Gross,  a child development expert

1.3 Current Efforts

1. Project iBaby

Initiated by students from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Project iBaby is an education and awareness project aimed at informing parents about the impacts of screen media use under age 2 as not many parents are aware of the negative effects, ranging from cognitive to behavioural to health impacts

They conducted fairs in polyclinics and hospitals, participate in conferences and worked with pre-schools. Educational videos produced by Project iBaby were screened and information materials were revamped to be easily readable

Limitations: Events are only organised occasionally and only occurs in certain places, hence it is ineffective in changing the mindsets of parents about screen media use among children. Additionally, many people are unaware of this project as proven in our online survey of 134 random parents

2. SCREENed

Initiated by Focus On The Family, the project aims to teach parents how to manage their children's use of electronic devices, to clarify doubts on how much screen time to allow their children, and to facilitate open and honest conversations with their children

Limitations: This project shows a clear gap as the targeted age group is from ages 11 to 14 and may not be as effective as their child has already developed towards a certain habit of using electronic devices without the control of parents. A study has concluded that routines and habits in children are unlikely to vary after the age of 9

1.4 Choice of Audience

The audience of our project are parents as they are children's first educators and spend the most time with them. In the early years of life, parental influences are significantly associated with young children's screen time with moderate to strong evidence. Results from a conducted review suggest that reducing parents own screen time can lead to decreased child screen time.

To maximise effectiveness, we chose to focus on reducing screen time among children aged below 8. According to UNICEF , early childhood, which spans the period up to 8 years of age, is critical for cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. During these years, a child's newly developing brain is highly plastic and responsive to change.

From our survey 91.2% of them allow their children aged below 8 to screen time . This shows that most children are exposed to screen media in their formative years, which is crucial for their development.

1.5 Rationale

100% of our survey respondents concur with the view that excessive exposure to screen media is a big issue today and would like to have a solution to it.

In consideration of the problems mentioned above and the limitations of existing efforts to tackle this issue, we decided to develop an effective plan that provides parents with alternatives to screen media for their children and increases awareness of the plethora of negative impacts of excessive screen time on children under 8 years old. With technological advancements, more problems associated with excessive screen time among children will arise if this issue is not addressed promptly.

1.6 Aims

This project seeks to:

1. Educate parents of children aged below 8 on the negative impacts of early exposure to screen media to prevent the rise of such adverse effects.

2. To persuade parents to reduce their children's reliance on screen media by introducing entertaining and educational activities for their children since many parents lack ideas on how to engage their children besides using electronic devices as seen in our survey

1.7 Approach

2.1 Purpose of Case Studies

To achieve our project's aims, we have gathered the following case studies to gain inspiration. These case studies show how we can tackle the issue of early exposure to screen media using two methodologies.

2.2 Case Study 1: Nudge Theory

To nudge the staff at Massachusetts General Hospital to avoid unhealthy food choices in the cafeteria, a light system was used. Unhealthy options were labelled with red lights and placed at lower shelves, while healthy options were labelled with green lights and were positioned at eye level. Green item sales increased from 41% to 46% while red items dwindled from 24% to 21% This proves that nudge theory is efficacious in influencing people's decisions.

The nudge theory can be used in our project through creating an “offline” product which serves as a replacement for electronic devices. This product serves the same purpose as any online applications, which is to educate and entertain, however, resulting in no adverse impacts on the child.

2.3 Case Study 2: Event Marketing

A 2016 report on experiential marketing found that 72% of consumers view brands who offer quality events in a positive light and say that they are more likely to make a purchase after attending an event. This shows that in-person events have more impact than all the social media posts and email newsletters in the world. Customers appreciate the commitment of brands who offer events  These live experiences connect consumers to brands in a personal and purposeful way such that they are convinced to buy the product or change their mindsets.

Through this case study, we plan to organise a publicity fair with the aim of encouraging parents to substitute screen media with our product to mitigate the negative impacts of screen media in young children. In this fair, parents would be educated about the adverse impacts of early exposure to screen media on their children and would be introduced to our product.

2.4 Application

Through the two case studies explored, we  are inspired to create a product and an event to enable the success of our project. Figure 14 shows how we have applied the strategies derived from the case studies into our project plans, which will be elaborated on in Chapter 3.

3.1 Overview

1. My First Box

We propose introducing activity kits for children, educating and entertaining them through four types of toys that are suitable for their age group. This serves as a replacement for screen media, thus reducing the reliance on screen media in young children under 8 years old. The name ‘My First Box' portrays how the first purchase of one of these activity kits can help parents to learn about ways to entertain their children.  

2. Free from Es!

We plan to organise an educational event cum publicity fair to educate parents about the adverse impacts of screen media on their young children as a significant number of parents are oblivious to the these ill-effects. Talks by children developmental specialists are included to persuade parents to wean their children off screen media and to suggest alternative ways for their children to spend time. Its name, ‘Free From Es!', was chosen as attending this event will inspire parents to free their children from electronic devices.

3. Project E³

We intend to integrate both My First Box and Free from Es into one project for parents and children to benefit from both simultaneously. E³ is an abbreviation for Early Exposure to Electronics which is parallel to our aim of weaning young children off screen media.

3.2 Inspiration for My First Box

1. KiwiCo

We derived inspiration from KiwiCo, an organisation which delivers crates containing fun and enriching STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) projects according to the child's age group  monthly upon subscription. These projects are designed to spark creativity and learning

KiwiCo are designed to suit the the child's abilities and development at that particular age and has gained over 20 awards, including, the Academics' Choice Award, Parents' Choice Gold and Dr Toy's 10 Best Building Toys

Learning from KiwiCo's strategies, My First Box recognises the different interests of children of different ages and are designed specifically to not only provide a substitute for electronic devices, but also to benefit children's development.

2. First aid kits

We also derived inspiration from portable first aid kits, a small box containing items such as bandages, and antiseptic wipes which is useful to help an injured person. It is portable and handy, containing everything we need

In Australia, portable first aid kits are found in about 70 percent of households with children

Learning from first aid kits, My First Box will contain the different educational toys needed to entertain young children, which comes in handy when parents wish to engage their child. Due to its small size, it is portable just like first aid kits, which makes it convenient to be carried around, a huge factor influencing the success of this product as seen in our online survey

3.3 Features of My First Box

1. Size and design

The activity kit is a rectangular box with the dimensions 19.5cm x 15cm x 8.5cm. Coupled with the feature of a handle  carrying it around is convenient.

Children tend to be attracted to the bright block colours rather than pastels or muted blends . Hence, the box has vibrant colours to appeal to children.

2. Toys

As children of different age groups have different developmental needs and distinct milestones to achieve, a new set of toys are introduced in specific age groups to meet their requirements.

For example, babies up to 1 year old rely on their senses to explore their new world. To delight their senses and encourage exploration, toys that make noise or toys with bright colours are ideal. Textured toys that are safe for mouthing are great for babies who can reach for objects. Figure 23 boasts the benefits of toys that are ideal for babies in this age group.

Toys

Benefits

Brightly-coloured stuffed toys

 

Bright colours aid visual development Being soft and cuddly, they help to ease distress and anxiety too

Plastic links

Encourages developmental skills such as reaching, grasping, hand-eye coordination, oral exploration, oral discrimination, tactile exploration

Rattle

Promotes infant upper limb muscle development and hand-eye coordination

Unbreakable mirrors

Developmental skills encouraged: tummy play, head control, social emotional skills, self-awareness

For the contents of the activity kits for children aged 1 to 8 years old, refer to Annex E.

3. Subscription details

From our survey, , the preferred price range of the activity kit is $15 to $20 . Upon further consideration and taking into account the cost price of the various items we have decided that a reasonable price for one of these activity kits would be $18. For those who subscribe to ‘My First Box', the subscription fee would be $5 they would be given a 5% discount for each of the subsequent activity kits for every other year.

In promoting our product, we will be partnering with KK Children's and Women's Hospital (KKH). When a baby is born in KKH, his or her parents would be encouraged to subscribe to “My First Box”, where the child will get a new kit which corresponds to his or her age every year on the child's birthday until he or she turns 8. We chose to partner with KKH as since KKH's founding in 1858, more than 1.2 million Singaporeans have been born in KKH . Other parents who wish to subscribe to the kit can do so online at our website www.projectecube.com. Figure 15 shows the subscription form.

Figure 15 ‘My First Box' subscription form

3.4 Inspiration for Free from Es!

Canadian International School) STEAM Fair, our inspiration for ‘Free from Es!', is a family fair held annually in Singapore which cater to both parents and children  It includes various activities ranging from Arts and Crafts to circuit building and many others for different age groups

Adapting CIS STEAM Fair's strategies, we are organising a fair which not only attracts parents, but also caters to children of different age groups by allowing them to try out some of the toys that boasts educational benefits for that age group as mentioned in Section 3.3.

3.5 Features of Free From Es!

1. Layout of fair

There will be a stage, 160 seats, 4 information counters, 2 Q&A counters and booths set up specifically for the various age groups

At each booth , there will be a board explaining the benefits of various items in an activity kit to parents. Our group members will also be stationed at each booth to guide the children on the appropriate usage of the items. Feedback forms  for parents and kids aged 3 and above will be given out at each booth to obtain some suggestions for improvement.

2.  Highlights

There will be 6 key segments of the event:

Introduction by our group members

Talk by Dr Evelyn Law, a researcher from National University Hospital's (NUH) Child Development Unit

Sharing by Mrs Grace Wong, an exemplary parent

Hands-on activity to try out the toys in the activity kit

Filling up of subscription form and feedback form

Q&A session to clarify doubts

For the full details of the programme, refer to annex F.

3. Poster

In order to raise awareness of the fair, we created a poster to be pasted around neighbourhoods and also to be spread through social media platforms. The vibrant colour of the poster background is to attract the attention of the public.

4. Event outline

An infographic showing the event outline will posted on our social media webpage to inform the public about the gist of our event.

5. Pamphlet for the pathway of My First Box

A pamphlet showing the pathway of ‘My First Box' will be given to parents at the fair as well as upon the delivery of their children at KKH. More explanation will be given during the talk to explain that buyers pay before receival in order to get a discount on subsequent years of subscription.

3.6 Project E³

We intend to integrate both My First Box and Free from Es into one project so that while parents are persuaded of the negative impacts of screen media on young children, they are also provided with a solution to reduce the time their children spend on electronics.

In Chapter 4, we evaluate the manageability and feasibility of our plans.

4.1 Feasibility

1. Overall

Based on the interview conducted, Mrs Julie Tan, mother of 3 children below 8 years old, approves of our project and encouraged us to start up these plans as she feels that it would benefit a mass majority of parents to young children

According to our third survey conducted , our project plans achieved favourable results

2. My First Box

Mrs Tan also mentioned that an activity kit would be attractive as it not only serves entertainment purposes, but also serves education purposes, aiding the development of children which benefits them later on in life.

Most of our respondents of the second survey  prefer using toys rather than electronic devices to educate their child

3. Free from Es!

Dr Evelyn Law, a researcher from NUH's Child Development Unit will be invited to speak at the event to increase the credibility of our event, thus attracting more parents to the event.

Consequences of early exposure to screen media will be shared to persuade parents to wean their children off screen media.

Alternative ways to engage children will be suggested so that parents know what are the concrete steps to be taken to reduce or cut off screen time for their child.

As ‘My First Box' will be integrated with this event, ‘Free from Es!' serves as a platform to promote and encourage parents to subscribe to the activity kit.

Having the opportunity to try out some of the toys in the activity kit, parents get a better understanding of how ‘My First Box' works.

4.2 Manageability

Overall

A limitation of this project is the lack of funding of our project. To overcome this, we can apply for National Youth Fund, which grants up to $10,000 for each project,  to fund the organisation of fair and the making of activity kits

Another limitation may be the lack of promotion for My First Box. To solve this, we can email KKH for collaboration so that pamphlets and subscription forms for our activity kit will be distributed to parents upon delivery of the child.

4.3 Future Plans

1. Scale

In order to broaden the scale of our project, we plan to extend Project  E³ to a larger group of parents in Singapore by collaborating with more hospitals so that all parents who deliver their child in Singapore will be informed of ‘My First Box' and subscribe to it. Additionally, we propose to hold the fair at more locations in different parts of Singapore so that the distance of travel from home to the venue of the fair does not become a factor hindering the success of the project.

2. Sustainability

We propose to collaborate with Early Childhood Development Agency and hand over our project to them. Through constant reviewing and integrating new trends and more technologically advanced toys into our activity kits, we can appeal to a larger target audience. A forum regarding the activity kit can be set up to receive feedback from parents to obtain suggestions for improvement to ensure our project's relevance.

4.3 Meeting Our Aims

Our project aimed to tackle the issue of early exposure screen media in Singapore. Project E³ has met our objectives

Objective

Result of Projects

Educate parents of children aged below 8 on the negative impacts of early exposure to screen media to prevent the rise of such adverse effects

Parents are exposed to the consequences of early exposure to screen media such as obesity and ADHD through ‘Free from Es!'

Persuade parents to reduce their children's reliance on screen media by introducing entertaining and educational activities for their children

- Parents learn some methods of reducing their children's screen time through the sharing at the fair ‘Free from Es!'

- ‘My First Box' serves as a convenient alternative which contains engaging and educational hands-on activities

4.5 Conclusion

In the context of Singapore, the over-reliance on electronic devices is becoming an increasingly calamitous issue that must be tackled before further aggravation. These children, being the future of Singapore, require adequate cognitive and motor development in order to ensure the sustainability of our future society as they grow to become leaders and workers in the society. Therefore, our project will help to raise awareness regarding this issue and is a worthy investment to make to eradicate the problem of excessive dependence on electronic devices so as to help the future workforce population and bring about benefits to Singapore as a nation.

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