Introducing Screen Free Week
What Is Screen Free Week?
Screen Free Week began in 1995 as a national effort to promote healthier habits and lifestyles by encouraging people to "turn off screens and turn on life," especially children. Each year the number of participants has grown and the purpose has too; it now includes taking a break away from computers, video games, and other commonplace electronic devices that keep people indoors, isolated, and sedentary.
"The goal of Screen-Free Week is to refrain from using screens for entertainment in order to enjoy the rest of the world."
Technology Is a Part of Everyday Life, So What’s the Big Deal?
The amount of hours that we as a nation, and children in particular, spend in front of a screen has grown at an alarming rate. Nowadays, "children ages 8-18 spend an average of 4 ½ hours per day watching television, 1 ½ hours using computers, and more than an hour playing video games." Add it all up and that’s over 7 hours of screen time daily. That’s over a quarter of a day, and don’t forget that about a third of it is usually spent sleeping!
We can’t afford to ignore the effects any longer. Studies show:
"Toddler screen time is also associated with problems in later childhood, including lower math and school achievement, reduced physical activity, victimization by classmates, and increased BMI."
"Children with 2 or more hours of daily screen time are more likely to have increased psychological difficulties, including hyperactivity, emotional and conduct problems, as well as difficulties with peers."
"Time spent with screens is associated with: childhood obesity; sleep disturbances; [and] attention span issues."
"Adolescents who watch 3 or more hours of television daily are at especially high risk for poor homework completion, negative attitudes toward school, poor grades, and long-term academic failure."
"The more time children and adults spend with screens, the more materialistic they are -- and that makes them more unhappy."
So Here’s the Good News
A lifestyle with less television can begin at any time, and joining in with others around the world can be a powerful motivational boost to start.
Here’s an example of a kid who, away from the distraction of television for the summer, had time to dream. And with that dream, he was able to create, inspire and make a mark on the world.
Brisbane Library Screen Free Week Events
This year the weeklong celebration starts on April 30th and runs through May 6th. It’s the perfect opportunity to help yourself, your family, and your children, to run, to jump, to play, to meet and greet, to create and build, to explore and enjoy the world around us. We've got a special set of events to help you celebrate Screen Free Week in style!
- Monday, April 30th, 10am – 11:30am: Family / Baby Yoga followed by Baby Play
- Monday, April 30th, 6:30pm - 8pm: Open Mic Night with Michelle
- Tuesday, May 1st, starting at 7:15pm: Magician Perry Yan at the Brisbane Community Center
- Wednesday, May 2nd, 6pm - 8pm: Yarn Bombing – Knitted Graffiti (supplies will be available)
- Friday, May 4th, starting at 4pm: Art Opening for Logos: An Exploration of Identity in Printmaking, featuring the art of Lipman students
- Saturday, May 5th, starting at 2pm: Family Storytime
Join the Fun!
We encourage you to keep track of how many hours you spend screen-free. We’ll be handing out official Activity Logs starting Tuesday, April 24th. We challenge everyone to log at least 15 screen free hours during his or her free time.
Bonus points will be given for every special Brisbane Library program you attend during Screen Free Week -- just ask for your sticker at the information desk. You will have the opportunity to collect up to 5 stickers!
Here’s the best part: Prizes will be given out after the storytime on Saturday afternoon to those who collected 5 stickers or logged the goal amount of at least 15 screen free hours.
So see you then, and happy screen-free living!
*All quotes and data provided by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.
Intern Anthony Andora was practically raised by the television and can speak from firsthand experience: he wishes he had gone outside more!