Smarties, not only is it the first week of May it is also National Screen Free Week.
What does National Screen Free weak mean?
“From April 30-May 6, 2018, children, families, entire schools, and communities will rediscover the joys of life beyond the screen. Plan to unplug from digital entertainment and spend all that free time playing, reading, daydreaming, creating, exploring, and connecting with family and friends! (*except for work and school assignments)” ~ ScreenFree.org
You can’t knock it until you try it. Unplugging can be a real challenge. Especially in today’s world. We FaceTime everyday with my parents. My son Jack spends 30 minutes exercising his eye on a doctor prescribed app… in our life unplugging seems almost impossible. But, I know that isn’t true. Every summer my family makes a journey to a small camp on the Midcoast of Maine and internet service is no-Bueno and it feels glorious. At first, you have the itch to look at your phone. But just after one day, your priorities shift and that moment is no longer about capturing the cute picture or creating that epic video – it is about being present – soaking in every moment around you.
Why do you disconnect during Screen-Free Week?
Immediately you think, to reconnect with your loved ones and enjoy some quality family time. But, it can be so much more. Check out other reasons why people are choosing to join the week long movement to disconnect.
Their reasons may surprise you:
“Canadian children see over 25 million food and beverage ads a year on their favourite websites. And we’re guessing these ads aren’t for kale, carrots, or cauliflower. Until this kind of advertising stops, Screen-Free Week gives children, and us, a welcome respite from harmful marketing messages. Yet another reason to celebrate Screen-Free Week!” ~ Canada-based Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition *Read more on this topic by clicking here.
**Smarties, I can totally relate to this. Just last month, my son started asking me if I wanted Credit Karma to buy a bigger house and if he could have ABC Mouse like all the other kids going to kindergarten. This was troubling to me. I had no idea where he was getting this from. He could recite the entire Credit Karma jingle. We do not watch regular cable TV. It is either the PBS Kids App, Netflix or Amazon. I avoid regular cable like the plague, because of all the commercials! I brought it up to his teacher (because as we all know, IT TAKES A VILLAGE!) and she suggested I take a closer look at his Ipad. SURE ENOUGH! The closer I looked the more annoyed I became. Ads are everywhere and the colors and graphics used are targeted directly at our kids.
“Professor Mary Gomes, Berkeley gives us Five Reasons to Take a Break from Screens, just published by Greater Good Magazine. Professor Gomes has, for years, been assigning a four-day media fast to her undergraduate students. Based on their experiences and astute observations, she shares five compelling reasons why everyone stands to benefit from going screen-free during Screen-Free Week.” Read more of this article by clicking here.
**This article was such a good read! It is a realistic reminder to all of us that we need to reconnect with ourselves and our surroundings to improve our “well being.” Her statement, ” As children of the smartphone age, some of them were experiencing long periods of uninterrupted attention for the first time in years, episodes of micro-mindfulness that can be deeply nourishing,” really put things into perspective. Without this kind of information, it can be hard to relate because most of us didn’t grow up with this kind of technology. #themoreyouknow
Just read some of the words her students used to describe their experience:
“During my walks from my dorm to my classes, I took my time breathing in the fresh air. Focusing on my breath helped me savor my time being outside and eased my anxiety about not being on my phone. By the time I got to class I had become so consumed with my breathing and sense of place I forgot about my phone altogether.”
“Breaking away from media allowed me to be more empathetic to not only my own struggles but to others’ as well”
Her students were able to re-evaluate their use of social media and technology:
“I decided to turn off all of my notifications besides academically related apps.”
“Am now aware of how often I use media … I have better things to do and media takes a lot of my time, so I can now drop it.”
“Not use my phone before bed. I get better sleep and am able to fall asleep faster. If I slip up, I can tell the difference … I wake up and my brain feels exhausted when I use my phone before bed.”
“I deleted my Facebook account because I realized I did not use it that much and I don’t like how I feel when I use Facebook.”
**Smarties, I may not be able to join in on the National Screen Free Week. However, I do plan on re-evaluating the use of social media in my household and creating my own Screen Free Week this summer. I would love to hear your strategies for unplugging!
Here are some additional links for ideas on how to incorporate a “media detox’ in your household: