Children's health focus in RIPE art project

Children's health focus in RIPE art project

It's one of life's ironies that a designer, intent on getting children off screens and into the outdoors, has had to get behind a computer to do it.

However, it's one of the reasons why CPIT Bachelor of Design student Llewellyn Parry chose his career path, to create inspirational visual projects that would inspire children to spend less time with technology and more time having good old-fashioned fun. His third year visual communications project Screen Break is designed to do just that.

"Technology is great but I want to help children recapture the magic of being outside by doing the stuff I did growing up; going to the park or beach, building tree houses and just having plain old simple fun," Parry said.

Llewellyn Parry
Ripe for picking:CPIT Bachelor of Design student Llewellyn Parry with some of the art work that formed the basis for his Screen Break project, which is designed to encourage children to be more active. His work will be displayed at CPIT's RIPE exhibition at the Madras Street campus, November 17-26.

He's come up with a block-style poster concept with each letter of the alphabet representing a fun activity that children can do, featuring bright, engaging colours and artwork. His project will be displayed as part of the CPIT Bachelor of Design's annual RIPE exhibition for final year projects, which starts tomorrow (Tuesday November 17) on the CPIT Madras Street campus and runs until November 26. The exhibition will include sculpture, photography, print making, graphic design, concept art and animation, featuring a wide range of subjects, genres and themes.

For Parry, the Screen Break concept began when he did a research project about the impact of technology on children as part of his contextual studies.  He created a character called Sam Square, a box-shaped guy more than a bit addicted to his electronics. In fact, Sam spends so much time looking at screens he doesn't really have much time for anything else. From that, the idea of Screen Break was born.

"I think he's fairly typical of many young people, including people of my age, where they're always on their cellphones or tablets checking out Facebook or playing apps. The reality is you can do everything you want and not move from the computer, but studies show experiencing those things through technology is not necessarily good for your sensory development or your social skills, and that's just a couple of reasons why I was so focused on doing this project."

New Zealand Ministry of Health statistics for 2013-14 showed that one in 10 children aged two to 14 years were obese and a further 23 per cent were overweight but not obese. The child obesity rate increased from eight per cent in 2006-07 to 10 per cent in 2013-14. Factors included inactivity and diet.

Aimed at five to 12 year olds, Parry is hoping his project, which he is proposing to make available as a teaching resource, will give children and caregivers inspiration to create a more healthy balance between cyber and outdoor fun.

RIPE is being held at CPIT's Rakaia Centre and the Artbox, in its new Madras Street location on campus November 17-26 from 9am to 5pm.