Screen-Free Week: April 30 – May 6, 2012 Can we do it?
It’s time to turn off the screens!
That’s right, Screen-Free Week starts on April 30. It’s a time for people everywhere to step away from the screens.
It used to be called TV-Turnoff week. But because of the immense rise in screens of all kinds in the world today, it’s aptly been changed to Screen-Free Week. If you haven’t heard of it before, here’s a the main message from the website:
Screen-Free Week is an annual celebration where children, families, schools, and communities turn off screens and turn on life. Instead of relying on screen for entertainment, participants read, daydream, explore, enjoy nature, and enjoy spending time with family and friends.
And we’ll add – “And Play Board Games!”
It’s estimated that children spend an average of 32 hours a week with screens!
And that’s just preschoolers!
It’s a lot higher than that for older children.
If we were just talking about TV screens, the number wouldn’t be so high. But with all the hand-held screens we carry around that give us instant access to entertainment, the numbers skyrocket. Sure iPads and mobile “phones” are used for many productive purposes. But they can also be a huge time waster.
It seems that if we have any “downtime” nowadays, we turn to our devices. Waiting in line – pull it out and check email. Waiting at the doctor’s office (because they love to make you wait) – pull it out to check sports scores or the news. Riding (not driving) in the car – pull it out for some games. And even our books are on a screen now.
How will the world ever have another notable philosopher like Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle when we never take time any more for pondering?
It seems hard to just do nothing. To sit and think. To enjoy a sunset.
No – we have to whip out our device and take a picture of the sunset, then post it on a social site, then get distracted with updates from our friends, then check out the videos they linked to, then flick some Angry Birds, then look up to see the sunset’s gone…
So this week it’s time to put the screens away.
- Talk to a friend
- Walk next door to visit a neighbor
- Take a hike
- Play in the park
- Talk to our kids.
- Play some board games and card games
- Build something
- Paint something
- Read a book (not on a screen)
- Write a short story
- In the end – just DO something.
And don’t worry about posting it anywhere. Just enjoy it with those around you and leave it at that. They’re the ones that matter most.
Is it possible? Can we do it?
Wow. Good question. I don’t know if we really can do it either. But we’re going to give it a try.
To do it right, we know it will take some planning. Since our kids have homework assignments that now require screens – for their reports, online quizzes, and such – we’re going to need an exception for that. But we may limit it to “homework must be done by 4pm and then all screens off” or something like that.
But a bigger question is – can I do it? Can I go a week without screens?
Of course, I have a job that requires I use screens (computer screens) to perform my work. So during work hours, this won’t be possible. But once I leave the office, can I keep the screens off?
Can I fight the urge to check email on my mobile? Can I stop myself from playing another game of Dominion on my device? Can I go without kicking back with a family movie on Saturday night? Can we skip watching Amazing Race? Can I fight the urge to check BoardGameGeek each day? Can I resist writing about family board games and not posting anything on our site, Facebook, or Twitter for a week? That’s a tough challenge.
But I’m going to give it a try as well!
And while on one hand it sounds tough to do, it also sounds very refreshing. Almost like some shackles are being removed and we’re free from the trappings of screens everywhere.
So even though we have a few reviews filmed and almost ready to post, and a few articles running around in my head, we’re going to take a week break. We’re taking up the challenge and we’ll catch up after the week’s over (and tell you how our week turned out). Of course, then again, it may be something so nice that we end up doing it more. I guess we’ll see.
Here’s to hoping you have a great time during Screen-Free Week spending more face time with your family and friends in a lot of great pursuits!
(And if you can’t do it this week, we challenge you to pick another week to turn off the screens. For our part, we won’t be tempting you with posts to read for the week. So have some fun!)