Children's Toy & Media Reviews Since 1978

Screen-Free Week: Opinions Vary on the Unplugged Week

Screen Free WeekScreen-Free Week spans from yesterday, April 29th, through Sunday, May 5th. Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC), the organizers of Screen-Free Week, encourage parents and educators to spend a week away from entertainment-delivering screens like televisions, tablets, and smart phones. They hope that children and parents will spend their newly free time enjoying the outdoors, engaging in physical activity, and spending quality time together. Parents and educators are also encouraged to start discussions with their children about the healthy use of technology, along with the benefits of extended screen-free time.

Though the goal of the week is simple, reception has been mixed. While many appreciate the idea of screen week, others find its focus on absolute avoidance of screens misguided. What do you think? Is it important to power down screen-based media for a week, or do those who do so miss the point? Here are some blog posts to get you thinking

Amy Kraft, blogger and game developer, offers her critique “Screen-Free Week, the Wrong Conversation” on Geek Mom:

“When some parents think of TVs, computers, iPads, etc. they picture mindless games that suck the attention of their child. The CCFC reinforces this brain-rotting view of screen-based media, but it’s to the detriment of children as future members of our creative, technology-based society.

Meanwhile, Simple Kids blogger Kara Floeck expects to participate in the week, and offers resources for other parents who will in her post “Screen-Free Week 2013.” She offers this perspective on the event:

I think the point of this week is about being more mindful of the screen time and making an effort to avoid the commercialism directed toward our kids through TV shows and ads.  If the take away for you is simply to be more aware of what screen time your family has, I think that is a pretty good thing.

In further search of middle ground, Amy Jussel of Shaping Youth emphasizes that we can capture the ethos of Screen-Free Week without quitting Instagram cold turkey for a week:

It’s not a simple either/or issue of polarity but one of media management and mindfulness, just like digital habits themselves. Personally, I unplug periodically, as you can see by my history of related links at the end, because I strongly feel the more digitally inclined we are, the more breaks we need to counterbalance the ‘always on’ dynamic of instant access and signal to noise mindfulness.

No matter how you feel about Screen-Free Week, conversations about the type and content of the media your family consumes should happen often. Our Media Management Tips provide a framework for those discussions. How will your family engage, if at all, in Screen-Free Week?