Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Screen-Free Week: Are You In?

SCREEN-FREE WEEK is Proudly Endorsed by the Media Education Foundation from Media Education Foundation on Vimeo.

We are.

Screen-Free Week is happening this year from April 18th -24th.

Screen-Free Week is presented by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, an organization that I've been following for a couple of years now.

The purpose of Screen-Free Week is to turn off the screens (televisions, computers- *Gulp*) and to turn on life.

I know we watch way too much television in our home, and spend way too much time online, and not enough time interacting with each other and our world.

So what are some things I plan to do while the screens are off?

  • Interact with my children more
  • Spend more quality time with my husband
  • Read books!
  • Get outside
  • Visit local parks
  • Connect with friends, new and old
  • Work on educational endeavors with my children
  • Clean house
  • I'm sure I will think of more!

I sort of wish it was longer than a week!

Here are just a few interesting (and startling) facts about screen use in the U.S.

  • On average, preschool children spend 32 hours a week with screen media. (You know what? Sadly, this is about accurate in our home!)
  • On average, preschool children see nearly 25,000 television commercials, a figure that does not include product placement. (Scary!)
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under 2, and less than 2 hours per day for older children.
  • Find more facts here.

We actually participated in this last year, and it was awesome! It wasn't very difficult to just pull the plug on the TV. We did other things! And it was fun! We ended up going a total of 8 days, only because I planned to leave it off as long as my son didn't ask to watch. 

This year, the CCFC has listed organizations that have signed up to participate. Our local skating rink is offering free admission on one of the days to families that sign the screen-free pledge. How cool is that? I've been wanting to take my son skating- I think he would have a ton of fun! It's awesome what you can come up with when you think outside the "box".

Now don't get me wrong, I don't think that television is inherently bad or wrong, but I do think that screens are too much a part of our lives. I want to be able to teach my children how to occupy themselves without media overload.

So who is with me? Will you commit to going Screen-Free for a whole week? What are your thoughts about television and computer usage in your home? Do you purposefully limit your screen time? Let me know in the comments!