Annually, the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood celebrates Screen-Free Week. From “May 2-8, children, families, and communities around the world will rediscover the joys of life beyond the screen. Unplug from digital entertainment and spend your free time playing, reading, daydreaming, creating, exploring, and connecting with family and friends.” Their screen-free week gives exception for work and school assignments.
Although there are not specific screen time recommendations for adults, there is evidence that watching too much television can have negative effects, especially with weight gain. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends daily limits of screen time for youth. Children age three and up should have less than 1-2 hours a day of screen time. Children under age two don’t need any screen time. For families with young children in the home, the best recommendations include spending time with your child and being intentional about media use. For more ideas for young children, check out these seven-tips to unplug and play of true family stories, including realistic challenges as well as happy outcomes.
Does your household need to make or update a family agreement on screen use throughout the day? Make a family agreement to limit your computer, phone, TV, and video games to no more than 1-2 hours a day. If you have pre-teens and teens in your home, invite them to work with you to determine a screen time plan. For older children with their own devices, consider using chargers overnight outside of the bedrooms. This will help curb the temptation to stay on the phone all night. Mealtime is a reasonable time to ban screen use.
What can families do together for entertainment? What would you do if you had free time to play, read, daydream, create, explore and connect with family and friends? Is there a park, school playground or community site that you’ve been meaning to visit? Have you checked anything out from the library lately? Is there a new recipe you would like to make? Does your family have a favorite board game or card game? Is there a friend or family member you could visit, call or mail a letter? Now that you have read this article – on a screen – what plans will your family make to be choosy about screen time this week?