5 Reasons My Family Is Doing Screen-Free Week

Screen-Free Week is an opportunity to create better habits. By Sierra Filucci
5 Reasons My Family Is Doing Screen-Free Week

My family will take part in the Screen-Free Pledge this week. In 2013, screens are such a constant presence in our lives that sometimes it's hard to remember what we're missing by being so attached to devices and passive entertainment. My family has had some struggles with screentime -- especially regulating the iPad -- and this will be a way to start fresh with a new set of rules. So, screens will go off this week in my house. (But they won't in our apps editor's house.) Here's why:

1. We're tired of being begged for "iPad time."
I've seriously thought of throwing our iPad in the trash. Despite our best efforts to regulate when and where and why our kids can use the iPad, there's a constant refrain in my house, "Can I play iPad?" While I love introducing my kids to cool new games and discovering great apps to help my daughter with her math, my husband and I get so frustrated being asked for the device at the most inopportune times (like the moment I walk through the door at the end of a long day). Even a week's break will be a welcome respite.

2. My son is kind of obsessed.
While he gets fixated on things like Harry Potter and Bakugan, nothing takes the place of the iPad. He tells me he dreams about it! He'll ask me for the iPad at 6 a.m. -- the moment he opens his eyes (and mine are still closed). I'm glad he's passionate about the things he loves, but I want to make sure he can spread his interests among those that are screen-based and the rest of the great things in the world.

3. We need different discipline tools.
This is really the biggie. I'm embarrassed to admit that the iPad is the first thing we threaten to take away when we're trying to get my kids to do something important (stop hitting your sister... throwing rocks... coming out of your room after bedtime... or I'll take away the iPad!). I find myself using that threat because it works -- and quickly. But it's a bad habit. These kinds of threats aren't useful in the long run because they don't ultimately teach that the behavior is wrong.

4. We need more family time.
With two working parents and kids with a full school and extracurricular activity schedule, our time at home together is precious. My husband and I usually moderate our screen time in front of the kids -- and we also have fun watching TV and playing video games together. But the amount of time spent playing charades and hide-and-seek and Monopoly is beginning to take a back seat. By cutting out even a half hour of TV time and adding in a game of tag in the back yard, we've strengthened our family and gotten some exercise at the same time.

5. I want my kids to be bored.
I was lucky to have lots of space to roam when I was a kid. I'd climb trees and dig in the dirt. And I read lots of books. My kids barely have a free moment between getting home, eating dinner, and going to bed. Sad, but true. And if those few free moments are filled up with their daily allotment of iPad time, what's left? True, this one week won't significantly change their habits, but if they get a bit more time to daydream, build a sword out of cardboard, and open their eyes to what can be done with a few more minutes of free time, I'm all for it.

What are your reasons for going screen-free, or not? And please follow me on Twitter.

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About Sierra Filucci

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Sierra is a journalist with a special interest in media and families. She has a master's degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley, and she's been writing and editing professionally for more... Read more

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Comments (3)

Teen, 15 years old written by Flaming Pencil

As an adolescent of the modern age, I think it is about time we have moved of from the confines of technology. During the summer, I prefer do do things such as climb trees, slide town large water slides (the tallest was 120 ft high), and enjoying reality. I never do any of that during the school year.
Parent written by LinVA

I totally agree on the obsession part--I have 2 boys and they live for the iPad and computer time. It is very hard to stay consistent on that, because they constantly ask for more. And the 4th-grader has recently been introduced to something called Minecraft that seems to be for teens and adults, but is sweeping through his elementary-school crowd as the "in" thing.
Parent of a 10 and 12 year old written by Jojano

I totally agree about wanting my kids to be bored. Boredom is the first key to creativity!


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