I just sent an email to my fellow Strollerderby bloggers lamenting the fact that my daughter will never know what a non-digital life feels like. In it, I wrote, “I always wonder if kids care as much about physical space since we live in such a digital world now. Sometimes I really miss the silence that I got to experience as a teen, and it makes me sad that my daughter will never know what living without a digital life is like. I mean, the Internet has been a great social tool, and financial tool, too, obviously. But man… sitting in your room writing in an actual diary made of paper…. those were the days.”
My daughter is great at entertaining herself without the use of a screen. She loves to draw, play with dolls and read books. But she does watch a bit of TV every day, so I’m going to see if she can make it without her beloved Nick Jr. for five days, in honor of Screen-Free Week, which starts Monday, April 30.
You may not think your children are exposed to that much screen time per day, but according to the latest Generation M2 Study by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, “Black youth spend nearly six hours daily watching TV and Hispanics spend 5:21, compared to 3:36 for Whites.” Additionally, “Hispanic and Black youth average about 13 hours of media exposure daily…compared to just over 81⁄2 hours . . . among Whites.” Tamala Choma of Black Kids Read says, “These levels of media exposure are unacceptable regardless of race and must be systematically reduced if parents and educators hope to challenge children to engage in creative play, analytical thought, socialization, physical activity and the radical notion of reading a book for fun.”
Screen-Free Week (formerly TV-Turnoff) is an annual event in which parents, children, teachers, and others across the country turn off screen media (television, video games, computers, cell phones, etc.) and celebrate the magic of being unplugged. Screen-Free Week is a program of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. I’ve agreed to participate with my daughter next week, outside of work hours, of course. So no computer use for me in the evening! No Colbert Report! I’m not sure how I’ll live. Maybe I’ll have to start a diary…
Will you participate in Screen-Free Week?