National Advocacy Group Organizes Screen-Free Week 2012
“It’s amazing how much free time you have when you’re not in front of a screen ... I never realized how much fun I missed by using screens instead of playing outside.”
—Mackenzie Rothfuss, 7th grader, Bay City, Michigan
On April 30 through May 6, 2012, children around the world will celebrate Screen-Free Week by turning off television, video and computer games, and handheld devices — and turning on life. Imagine what children and their families could do with an extra 20, 30 or even 50 hours a week!
We all know that children spend far too much time with screens: an astonishing average of 32 hours a week for preschoolers and even more for older children. Excessive screen time is harmful for children — it’s linked to poor school performance, childhood obesity, attention problems, and the erosion of creative play.
Screen-Free Week (formerly TV-Turnoff) is a wonderful way to help children lead healthier, happier lives by reducing dependence on entertainment screen media. By encouraging children and families to unplug, Screen-Free Week provides time to play, connect with nature, read, daydream, create, explore, and spend more time with family and friends.
Organizing a Screen-Free Week in your classroom, school, library, or home has never been easier. This year, for the first time, the Screen-Free Week Organizer’s Kit — which includes everything you need to plan a fun-filled week — is free! Not only does the 68-page guide walk you through the organizing process, it’s also packed with fact sheets, suggestions for screen-free activities, pledge cards and other handouts. Download yours today at www.screenfree.org
Of course, Screen-Free Week isn’t just about snubbing screens for seven days; it’s a springboard for important lifestyle changes that will improve well-being and quality of life all year round. For example, after completing a successful week without screens, students in the South Orange/Maplewood, N.J. school district decided they wanted to keep going. So school librarians designed the yearlong Ultimate Screen-Free Challenge. The program is now in its 12th year and every elementary school in the district participates — as do a majority of students.
Screen-Free Week is a program of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), a national advocacy organization dedicated to reducing the impact of commercialism on children. In addition to providing resources for parents and educators to reduce children’s screen time, CCFC holds corporations accountable for their harmful marketing practices and advocates for commercial-free time and space (especially schools) for children. #
Josh Golin is the associate director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.