Screen Free Week Survival: Reviewing Past and Present Media Use

During Screen Free Week, shutting off the television, computer screens, and electronics that keep us tuned in to the world might seem almost impossible. Kelly Farrell reflects on simpler times before advances in technology and shares how she plans to try and survive a week without media.

Kelly Farrell: Loving Learning

Screen Free Week: Life Without Technology

When I looked back through family photos prior to writing this, I couldn’t find a single photo of my five year old in front of the TV or computer, or using her MP3 player or tablet. Surprised? I was, considering how much time we spend on a regular basis in front of screens. But it made me realize that all the moments we cherished were had without screens (apart from the camera to capture the smiles!).

Nevertheless, a week without screens frightens me. What will I do to entertain my cranky daughter during the dinner rush? Does it mean waking up earlier on a Saturday morning instead of letting her turn on the TV and eat cereal from the box (don’t judge—everyone does it at some point!)? It’s enough to say “not this year”. But I actually think that an intentional week without screens might just be the best thing that ever happened to our family.

Media Usage in the Past and Present

When my daughter was born five years ago, I was driving a 1990 model Geo Metro, with a top quality tape deck. It didn’t bother me until I realized that on a two hour drive to the cottage, my single Raffi cassette tape (vintage from when I was a child) played over four times! When I look back now, I wish I was still driving that car. My new car is equipped with more technology than my house, and while I thought it was an exciting feature, I question that choice now: my five year old quickly learned how to command the voice activated MP3 player and stereo and to connect our tablet through the Bluetooth and command her own music selections via YouTube. It’s enough to make my head spin, and it’s enough to make me wish for simpler times, when our lives weren’t on-demand.

My plan for Screen Free Week is to return to simpler times, days of conversation and cassettes. Seven days (April 30-May 6) without television, computers or tablets to take our attention away from the more important things in life. I want to slow down, take time to talk during car rides and read books together in the evening, maybe even do a few crafts I’ve been drooling over on Pinterest.

In fact, the hardest part about Screen Free week as a parent may very well be tearing myself away from screens and slowing myself down. Children adapt to what we provide them with. They are desperate for a parent’s love and affection, not for cold, cuddle-free technology. If I can be strong enough and make the effort to keep my computer turned off in the evenings and to keep the TV turned off during breakfast time, I believe it will bring us closer together as a family. At least for a week.

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What are you planning to do with your family during Screen Free Week? Do you find it difficult to turn off the technology? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.


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