Well, Screen Free Week is over – http://bit.ly/dUgLav – and it was a moderate success at our house. I have to say that although we weren’t screen free for the entire six days we tried really hard to stay off the screen for most of the week. Having a 3-day weekend didn’t help matters, though!
From Monday – Thursday we all did pretty well. My husband slipped a little here and there (Facebook) but for the most part neither one of us used our computers or checked our email on our cell phones unless it was related to work. Having intentional time without the use of my BlackBerry, that I love, was a good, needed break. And, it became apparent to me how much time we spend on mobile devices even if they’re connected to work. Instead, we played a couple of board games after dinners and spent time reading. Once the weekend came though it was harder to keep my son from pining for the computer or the DS or the Wii, to name a few screens we have in our house, since that is when he normally can have limited use of these toys. It took a lot of will power on our part to keep saying, no.
Until we caved in.
I thought we could take a break and go to the movies, then go back to being screen free for the rest of the time. So, we went to see Rio Friday afternoon. Big mistake! How can you explain the concept that a break is just that – a break and that afterwards you go back to your original plan? How can we realistically expect a 6-year-old to again muster up the will power to stay screen free for another 2 days? Well, it didn’t work! Although, we still limited all of our screen times the magic of Screen Free Week had been broken.
We’ll try again next year but I think the real challenge is to make screens one of many choices for children (and adults) so that it is not the only choice they gravitate to when they want to be entertained. The allure of these devices is so strong that we need to develop alternatives that are as enticing, along with the necessary will power, to make alternate choices for our off times.
I’d love to hear from those of you who are struggling with these issues, whether or not you participated in Screen Free Week.