Sunday, April 8, 2012

Screen Free Week! (April 30-May 6)

Our home is participating in Screen Free Week April 30-May 6. This annual event, thrown by the Center for a Commercial Free Childhood is a way for folks interested in weaning off the electronic teat known as TV (as well as other types of screens, like laptops with Hulu or Netflix, DVDs, or video games) a small start, to see what it is like.

At the link above, you can get an organizing kit, look up screen-free events being held in your area, and much more.

In California, we had no TV. We would let Rowan see some short clips of Yo Gabba Gabba or animals on Youtube from time to time. When we first moved to Ohio, we lived with relatives whose home that had a TV as a main feature of the common space. It's what most American family rooms are like- it's what I grew up with, and after living that way again with my son I decided that I did not want Rowan to grow up that way. While living there, it was kind of inevitable that Rowan see plenty of kids TV- Dora the Explorer, Sesame Street, Yo Gabba Gabba, and the like. I did manage to put my foot down and insist that only the commercial free stations were on for him and absolutely no Disney.

But even the small amount he saw (compared to other kids his age) created zombie-like behavior while it was on (no more playing with toys and using our imaginations- it's time for TV!), begging for more incessantly, and turned my child into a consumer whenever we went shopping. These characters are licensed everywhere-clothes, food, diapers, toys, videos.

And can I say? Sometimes, even while I was being vigilant, another adult would turn on something adult that I did not want Rowan to see- namely violence and cruelty. It was a constant struggle. I am glad for a once-again TV free home, now that we live on our own in Columbus. The adults still watch programs and movies on my laptop, but Rowan is down to maybe 5 hours a week, total. (His latest favorite, checked out from the library, is My Neighbor Totoro.)

But the last week of April/first week of May, we are taking it further- screen free- all of us- for a glorious week. If you watch TV and movies daily, think of how much more you can accomplish by swapping some of that time for things that you have always wanted to do: crafts, games with your family, socializing, patronizing the arts, building community, raising a garden, or getting healthy!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for mentioning this now. It seems I usually hear something about it on Tuesday of Screen Free Week (usually on my computer screen) and at that point I'm too lazy to play along. Maybe with some preparation I can do it this year.


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