Originally the brainchild of a non-profit environmental and anti-consumerist firm in British Columbia, Screen-Free Week later came under the wing of another organization urging people to use electronic screen media responsibly.* The movement has undergone a few name changes to keep up with the changing face of our media, but “screen-free” seems to capture it for the foreseeable future.
In 2010, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) became the home of Screen-Free Week at the request of the Board of the Center for SCREEN-TIME Awareness (CSTA), which ran the initiative since 1994 (first as TV-Free America). CCFC launched a new website and developed a new Organizer’s Kit, fact sheets, and other materials for Screen-Free Week 2011 and beyond. The Screen-Free Week Organizer’s Kit is available as a free download.*
Over 70 other organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, the American Medical Association and the YMCA, support Screen-Free Week and multiple countries thoughout the world participate annually.* The White House supports limiting screen time via its Task Force on Childhood Obesity and the “Let’s Move” initiative. And the CCFC has a free, handy organizer’s kit.
Now you have the background on it — what will you DO about it?
What are your current boundaries around screen time for yourself and/or your family? Exactly how many screens do you have in your family? Um, YES, smartphones count — as do tvs, readers, tablets, laptops, monitors, and all the rest. If it lights up and shows you a picture, it counts. (Bet the number will surprise you! We have only 1 tv, but a total of SIX screens! Whaaaaat?? That’s nuts, y’all.)
Your brain is still reeling just from counting the number of screens you own.
You need ideas about how to turn them off without losing your mind, and you’ve come to the right place.
Yes, of course I have suggestions — and of course, they involve getting up and moving. You wouldn’t recognize this as my writing if I didn’t throw those in, right?! Try these on for size:
1. Play Spin-Fit instead of sitting on the sofa! It’s springtime, and there’s no more perfect time to be outside!
2. Get the family involved in making dinner. Even moving around the kitchen is still more MOVING than sitting on the couch.
3. Turn the music up and dance it out! Remember the main characters’ “therapy” on Grey’s Anatomy? A good ol’ fashioned dance-off really will cure what ails you.
5. Go for a walk. Walk to school. Walk to your after-school stuff. Or just walk around the block. Bonus points for a follow-the-leader “wacky walk” game while you’re out!
6. Take a new class! You can even do it at a discount (in the Atlanta area) if you check out ClickAClass.com!
7. Let your kids be the boss for a change. Let them be “Simon” in Simon Says and see if you can keep up with their crazy antics. They’ll love getting to order you around, and you’ll get a workout without feeling like it. Or, get together and try these dare-you-to-keep-a-straight-face challenges!
8. Head down to the park — and don’t just sit there, play along!
9. Check out some other ideas from my friends at Nourish Interactive.
I could go on, but now it’s YOUR turn! Tell us in the comments below how YOU will approach Screen-Free Week.
Will you participate at all, and if not, why not?
If so, what will you do differently — and do you think it’s sustainable for more than just a week?
*Wikipedia on Screen-Free Week
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