Screen-Free Week (formerly TV-Turnoff) is an annual celebration where children, families, schools and communities turn off screens and turn on life. This year it is set for this Monday through Sunday.
“Instead of relying on screens for entertainment, participants read, daydream, explore, enjoy nature and enjoy spending time with family and friends,” said Donna Krug, family and consumer science agent with K-State Research and Extension – Barton County. “Screen-Free Week is not just about snubbing screens for seven days; it is a springboard for important lifestyle changes that will improve well-being and quality of life all year long.”
The first screen free event was held in 1996 and has been sponsored every year since by the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. The week is endorsed by leading educational, environmental, and public health organizations.
“Let’s face it; children spend far too much time with screens” Krug said. On average a pre-schooler spends 32 hours a week and even more hours are recorded for older children.
“Excessive screen time is harmful for children,” she said. Time with screens is linked to poor school performance, childhood obesity, and attention problems. And it is primarily through screens that children are exposed to harmful marketing.
“Regardless of whether they are consuming ‘good’ or ‘bad’ programming, it is clear that screen media dominates the lives of far too many children, displacing all sorts of other activities that are integral to childhood,” Krug said.
“I realize I may be catching some of you off-guard and you may not be able to adhere to no screen time for a full seven days,” Krug said. “I do hope you will look at your families screen time activities and try to substitute a physical activity like a walk, a bike ride or playing with the dog each day.”
Proponents want this to be a fun and innovative opportunity to improve children’s well-being by reducing dependence on entertainment screen media, including television, video games, computers and hand-held devices. It is a chance for children and their parents to examine their relationship with entertainment media and rediscover the joys of life beyond the screen.
Krug can be reached at 620-793-1910 or email@example.com.