Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why Screen Free?

Every April and September there is a nationwide Screen-free Week to unplug from the screens and plug back in to our families.  Why do I support this wholeheartedly? Because I see the benefit from getting away from it all every once in awhile.  We live in a media-rich society, so I know that it is impossible to completely turn everything off... most of us couldn't do our jobs without a computer.  But I challenge you to substitute recreational screen time with other activites for just one week and see what happens. 

Some facts and statistics:
  • Screen Time = television, video games, computer time, handheld games, social media, movies -- anything with a screen.
  • The typical school aged child has 7.5 hours of screen time daily. That's more time than ANY other activity except sleep!
  • The typical preschool child watches over 4.5 hours of screen time daily.
  • Screen time is linked to aggression, ADHD, and obesity among other things.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends NO screen time under 2 years of age and no more than 10 hours per week for older children.
  • The AAP recommends no televisions, computers, or other electronic media in children's bedrooms.
  • An average preschool child sees nearly 25,000 commercials.
  • Screen time inhibits sleep.   
  • More from the links below!
Since my family has been doing this I find an interesting pattern: 
  • my kids initially grumble (ok, it is a stronger disagreement, but...) 
  • they quickly find other things to keep busy
  • they play better together with less fighting
  • they argue less with me when asked to do something
  • we overall enjoy one another more
  • at the end of the week they choose to do things without the tv or computers
  • they slowly start to watch / do more on the screens
  • they are once again addicted to the screen and I have to pull them away.
What can you do besides watch tv or play on the computer or game system?

  • Go for a walk.
  • Ride a bike.
  • Play ball.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Play a board game.
  • Read a book.
  • Make up a play.  Be creative!
  • Dance.
  • Cook dinner together as a family.
  • Talk to a friend or family member. Talk, not text!
  • Go to the park or zoo.
  • Check out the new aquarium.
It is an overall good experience. Read my post-Screen-Free Week Reflections from the last screen-free week here.
I will try not to be on line during the Screen Free Week, April 30-May 6th. (Hard work, I know... scanning the internet is my biggest pastime/hobby ~ AKA timewaster.)  
Join me off line and plug in to your families!  Have a fun week and I'll see you back on Facebook and Twitter May 7th!  

For more information:

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