Monday, April 18, 2011

Screen Free Week

This is such a busy week, since it is Passover and Easter and, of course, Earth Day, which we are celebrating through a book giveaway and webinar and blog hop...

But if that is not enough on your plate (because usually these things don't line up on the same week), April 18-24 is also Screen Free Week.  Screen Free Week, organized by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, and endorsed by a whole bunch of government agencies, public health organizations, and child development non-profits, urges families to unplug their digital and/or screen based electronic entertainment and spend the week in more personal and interactive pursuits, including spending time outside in nature, reading, playing board games, and, like, talking to each other.

For years, this was known as "Turn Off the TV" week, which we were virtuously able to ignore, because we haven't had TV in the house for over 20 years, and my son has never lived with a television.  I think it is one of the best things we've done for him for a whole bunch of reasons, but, of course, that is a personal family decision.

However, when it came around this year, I felt like maybe we ought to take notice of it.  While nobody is watching TV, we know have more computers in the house than there are people, and we all probably spend more time on our computers than we should.  Also, at Christmas, we bought our son a Wii--the first video game system he has ever had.  I don't think he goes overboard, but he is now spending a lot of his free time on either the computer or the Wii--time he used to spend reading or drawing or doing other things.

So I talked to my son, and he agreed not to use the Wii this week, and to cut back his entertainment use of the computer to a minimum.  I, too, am trying to cut my computer use to the bones.  We do a lot of our school work (we include doing our blogs as school work) on the computer, and most of my projects involve computer use, so I'm not willing to cut it off completely.  But we're doing our best to stick to using it just for essential needs this week, and actually turning it off for most of the day.  I figure that not only is it a good exercise in taming our digital addictions, but it is another way to reduce our carbon footprint during Earth Week.

We spent most of the day in activities outside the house.  Then tonight, after dinner, instead of retreating to our separate screens, we played a couple of board games--Roundabout (simple to play, but deceptively difficult to win) and Likewise.  It made it a nice evening--seemingly more laid back and personal.

But we'll see how we're doing as the week wears on....

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