Clear your mind and ease your eyes by participating in Screen-Free Week, from April 30 to May 6, 2012.
The Challenge of Turning Off the Screen
Imagine going 10 minutes without checking YouTube, Facebook, Twitter Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, or CSS feeds. Psshh, easy right? What about an hour? No problem, you think. But a day? Three days? An entire week? Now we’re talking crazy.
But that’s exactly the idea of Screen-Free Week, an annual celebration of entertainment, activities and fun found offline. Since 1996, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has rallied parents, teachers, students, librarians, instructors, educators, and more to turn off their screens and direct their focus to the real world.
Preschoolers reportedly spend about 32 hours a week in front of a screen, more for older children, which is linked to obesity, poor performance in school, and attention problems. Many schools will have activities planned for Screen-Free Week, so if you’d like to learn more or plan some yourself, we recommend contacting your school’s administration to see how you can get involved.
But Screen-Free Week isn’t only helpful for students, everyone could use a little offline time. But addictions are common and tough to beat, so here are a few ideas to help the week fly by:
- Do a craft: You have a Pinterest board choc-full of cool DIY projects that look oh-so pretty—but you’ve been too busy pinning to try any of them out! Screen-Free Week is the perfect opportunity to dust off your scissors, glue, and craft box again and create something beautiful and practical. Same goes for all those recipes you’ve been piling up, too.
- Start a journal: You’ll be amazed how your thoughts will flow when you have more than 140 characters to express them with. We all know how fun it is to share your opinions with the world, but writing them down for yourself first can be just as satisfying. Who knows—your daily musings could end up developing into a poem, a short story, or even a novel. The only limit is the page in front of you!
- Make a video: YouTube has an amazing ability to melt hours from your day, watching and re-watching and triple-watching the moment’s funniest video. But do you know what can also make hours disappear without even noticing? Making your own video with your friends. Go exploring, choreograph a dance, or do a skit in front of a camera— just don’t watch it until Screen-Free Week is over.
- Have a party: Facebook is great in that it lets you connect with hundreds of people at once. You can chat, catch up, check out each other’s photos, and reconnect whether you’ve been apart years or minutes. But we forget how important is it to take that connection offline. Face to face interaction is the best way to make memories and friendships last. A Facebook chat will never stay with you like a good heart-to-heart.
- Play a board game: Before there was the Internet, there was the board game. It entertained friends and family for hours with classics like Monopoly, Sorry, Guess Who, Clue, and Trivial Pursuit—many of which are still readily accessible today. Why play an online version when the real thing brings people together in friendly competition?
Take these ideas and some more of your own, and share them with your friends and teachers. Perhaps one day Screen-Free Week will turn into a Screen-Free Lifestyle. Or at least screen-free on some days.
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Do you think that Screen Free Week will be helpful for you, your kids and your family? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.