Do your kids have what it takes to go screen-free? Does your spouse? Do you?
It’s National Screen-Free Week, a time to think about the hours we spend engrossed in technology each day. Studies are full of grim numbers about this: kids between the ages of 8 and 18 spend about seven hours a day on screens, 29% of babies under the age of one watch 90 minutes of television a day, adults spend half of their leisure time watching something. All of this screen time is making us eat more, sleep less, and spend more. So let’s all just stop doing it, okay? Just stop looking at screens.
What? That’s not going to work for you?
Since I’m typing this on a screen, it appears that it’s not going to work for me, either. In fact, I violated the spirit of National Screen-Free Week at approximately 5:45 this morning, which is when I walked downstairs, picked up my phone to check if it had charged, and immediately scrolled through my Instagram feed.
Well, the two minutes before that were refreshingly screen-free.
Look, we all know that for 99 percent of us, “screen-free” is a lost cause. I think they should change it to “National Screen-Freer Week.” As in: try to be freer from the screen. Maybe take one screen-heavy time for your family and pull the plug for those few hours. How about after dinner? You could go for a walk around the neighborhood. Or maybe at breakfast. Instead of checking the headlines, take your coffee outside and listen to the birds. When the kids come home from school, take their snack to a nearby park or playground instead of letting them zone out in front of the tablet. Just make a choice to not check a screen for that one, tiny, little, discreet bit of time.
Make that choice for a week.
Make that choice for more than a week.
Maybe it will become a habit and just like that, you will be screen-freer.
For most of us, that’s the best we can do.