Screen-Free Week

by Della H. Harris

boy playing game on computerAt times it seems as if the entire universe is tethered to an electrical wire of some type. Adults and children alike are constantly staring at a screen.

From televisions, video games, hand-held devices, computers, and smartphones, we have become increasingly dependent upon technology, immersed within an age of instant gratification to the point that even 30 seconds of commercial advertising can feel like an eternity!

Screen-Free Week is a time for participants to turn off and "tune in" plugging into life instead!

Why Go Screen-Free?

Kids today are faced with an unbelievable amount of screen time. The stats are simply staggering. Here are just a few:

  • The number of commercials viewed in a single year by those pre-k and under: 25,000
  • The average number of minutes per day school-age children are staring at a screen (tv, computer, or video game): 153,300
  • Percentage of children ages 6-17 who have TV's in their bedrooms: 50
  • Percentage of day care centers that use TV during a typical day: 70
  • Percentage of Americans that regularly watch television while eating dinner: 66
  • Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 38.5

Children (and adults) exposed to too much screen media time are at risk for at least some of the following:

  • Obesity
  • Lower attention span (and possibly ADD or ADHD)
  • Sleep disruption
  • Expression of less satisfaction with life in general (always in need of the more "instant gratification")
  • Behavioral issues and aggressiveness
  • Poorer academic performance
  • Far less development of creative play -- skills which build the foundation for problem solving, learning, and creativity later in life
  • Inability to interact and socialize well with others "in real life"

Here's Your Challenge

chasing a giant bubbleYou're invited to turn off and tune into life, joining thousands of others trying to break free of dependence upon screen media and work on developing a greater balance within your life.

Obviously, there can be tons of positives with the use of TV and computing; even video games may serve a purpose. Viewing screen media is generally a passive "non-activity" which can detract from more healthy, interpersonal, productive, rewarding and community-oriented choices. Turning it off for a few days can help families take time to evaluate their habits. The key is finding that level of moderation needed. Doing so for yourself and your family is definitely worth it and can positively impact future generations as well!

To help you reach your goal, we've created a list of general suggestions. Additionally, for each day, we've developed various themes which you may wish to focus on. Throughout the weeklong event, we will also present further activities on our community forums. Yes, we know you are "tuning out" but all things in moderation is your goal, remember!