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Celebrate Screen-Free Week, May 4 – 10, 2015!
Kids, families, schools, and communities swap digital entertainment for the joys of life beyond the screen
Boston — April 27 — Smart phones, tablets, e-books, TV, apps, digital games, and videos… Screen-free time is more important than ever: Regardless of whether children are consuming "good" or "bad" programming, it's clear that digital entertainment dominates the lives of far too many kids.
- School-age children spend more time with screen media – television, video games, computers, and hand-held devices – than in any other activity but sleeping.
- Screen media use is at an all-time high among preschoolers – according to Nielsen, young children spend, on average, more than 32 hours a week watching just television.
- A recent survey found that the amount of time children ages 0-8 spend using mobile devices tripled in two years.
- 64% of children ages 12 to 24 months watch TV and videos for an average of just over two hours a day – even though the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages screen time for children under two.
Research shows that excessive screen time is linked to a host of problems facing children today including poor school performance, childhood obesity, sleep disturbance, and attention problems. It's also habit forming.
For these reasons, and more, leading health, education, and advocacy organizations around the country actively support Screen-Free Week, including: the American Academy of Pediatrics; the National WIC Association, KaBOOM!, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Alliance for Childhood, and the American Public Health Association.
"Such wide-ranging support for Screen-Free Week reflects the growing national consensus that children spend too much time with television, video games, apps, and computers," said Dr. Susan Linn, Executive Director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, the official home of Screen-Free Week. "More screen time means less time for hands-on play, reading, exploring nature, and dreaming – activities crucial to a healthy childhood."
Since 1996, thousands of parents, teachers, PTA members, librarians, scout leaders, and clergy have organized Screen-Free Week celebrations in their communities. Here are just a few of this year's festivities:
- The Community Library in Battle Ground, WA is hosting events all week long including yoga for kids and teens, arts and crafts, board games, building with LEGOs, and a scavenger hunt.
- Let's Move Missoula (MT), Missoula Parks and Recreation, and the Missoula City-County Health Department are collaborating for an "UnPlug and Play" Screen-Free Week. The week begins with a free kick-off event at McCormick Park, which includes face painting, games, sports, nature activities, a climbing wall, and so much more! During the week more than 30 community partners will host family-friendly interactive events.
- Villa Villekulla Toys in Fernandina, FL is offering access to exclusive discounts and community events just for those who have pledged to go Screen-Free! There will be a kick-off party and they'll end the week with a family picnic.
- In and around Lafayette, CO, kids and teens in grades Kindergarten through 12 who commit to turn off their screens will receive a free week-long pass to the Bob Burger Recreation Center. All participants who return their completed Activity Log to the Recreation Center will be awarded a participation certificate and an age-appropriate book compliments of the Lafayette Public Library.
- The Brighton Memorial Library in Rochester, NY will host a board game and card game swap. Participants can drop off any gently used and complete family board game, card game, and/or puzzle any day in April at the Children's Center.
What Screen-Free Week Endorsers are saying:
"Screens, including televisions, computers, tablets, and cellphones, are inescapable in today's connected world. But when it comes to children, from toddlers to teens, screen time should be limited. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents develop a family media plan to manage electronic media to minimize potential health risks, and to maximize its benefits. Screen-Free Week is the perfect time for families to connect with one another in various ways that don't involve media. This helps contribute to the optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults."
- The American Academy of Pediatrics
"The Power of Moms community is well aware of the impact our screen-saturated culture has on families. While we recognize that some screen time is beneficial, we are also familiar with the pitfalls of too many screens. We think Screen-Free Week is a wonderful time to unplug from technology and plug into meaningful personal and family activities. Thank you, CCFC, for continuing to encourage Screen-Free Week!"
-Power of Moms
"Today's 8- to 18- year-olds consume more than seven hours of screen media per day. That's almost the amount of time most adults spend at work daily… except that young people use media seven days a week instead of five! Screen-Free Week is a wonderful opportunity for families to kick-start new habits. Let's take back that time, and devote it to more of what matters in our lives. Let's spend less time in front of our TVs and gadgets, and more time outside and enjoying nature. Less time on social media, and more time personally connecting with each other and our communities."
-Center for a New American Dream
"OPHI is proud to endorse Screen-Free Week! As TVs, computers, video games and other screens become more and more prevalent in our everyday lives, it is important to understand how screen time affects us. Too much time in front of the screen can negatively impact our physical, emotional, and behavioral health. OPHI supports community efforts to unplug the device and plug into family and friends."
-Oregon Public Health Institute
"Taking time off from media allows us to experience closer connections with ourselves and with each other. Then we can find ways to prioritize those connections going forward. Screen-Free Week offers a powerful community of support for that process."
-Healthy Media Choices