Are you up for a challenge? We are challenging you to join us for a week as we set aside our devices and refocus on relaxing, reading, daydreaming, creating, playing, exploring, and building our connections to family, friends, and places! From April 30th to May 6th, millions of people from around the world will unplug during non-work/school time to find joy in a wide variety of screen-free activities.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the average child spends over two hours a day on screen time (TV, computers, smartphones, tablets & other devices). However, if you break this down into smaller age groups, 8-10 year-olds spend nearly 8 hours of their day on screen time, and in teenagers, that number shoots up to 11 hours per day! Research has shown there is a link between screen time and childhood obesity, eye development and vision issues, lack of sleep, problems at school, shorter attention spans, aggression, and other behavior issues. UCLA also determined that too much screen time is playing a role in youth’s declining social skills, as they are losing critical opportunities for face-to-face interactions with peers in our new digital world.
Often, when we are talking about too much screen time, the conversation is about children. But the fact is, adults are even worse! Scientific American found that on average, parents are spending over 9 hours a day engrossed in screen time. Not only are we not setting a great example for our kids, but we’re also limiting their meaningful interactions with adults and stunting their ability to read emotions and nonverbal cues due to “still face phenomena” from concentrating on screens.
So what can you do? The AAP recommends creating a healthy media plan for your family that involves limiting screen time, carefully monitoring the media children are being exposed to, and setting a good example for children to follow. Here are the recommendations for various ages:
So join us for Screen Free Week as we reconnect to family, friends, and places! In addition to setting down your screens, we challenge you to spend some time outside for a myriad of benefits! To get you started, we’ll give you some ideas of what you could do instead of picking up that device! Visit www.screenfree.org to take a pledge and for lots more resources/information!