How much time do you spend on screens — your smartphone, your laptop/computer, your television, your game devices, your tablet, and even your digital watch.
This is Screen-Free Week (April 30 – May 6), an annual event that encourages us to “swap digital entertainment for the joys of life beyond the screen.”
The event began in 1994 as TV Turnoff Week, encouraging families, schools and communities to watch less television and spend more time connecting with people and pursuing physical activity.
Screen-Free Week provides us the opportunity to consider how we might modify our screen use beyond this one week.
- Are we distracted when we drive by our smartphone or by our car’s digital system that is reading our text messages to us?
- When we dine with family or friends, are we all on our phones or watching TVs in the restaurant rather than talking with each other?
- Have we let the evening slip away scrolling through social media messages?
- Do we miss important information in conversations, meetings or classes because we’ve been checking our smartphone or laptop?
- Is our sleep interrupted because we check messages or news during the night?
- Do we spend too much time on screens and not enough time walking, cycling or other forms of physical fitness?
So here are my suggestions for how to create your own screen-wise approach.
- Select one or two steps you want to take to adjust your screen use to lead to goals you want to reach, such as reading more books (which
could be on screen) or going for a walk rather than spending as much time on social media.
- Get buy-in from others about your planned screen-use changes. For example, if you plan to turn off your phone for meals, meetings or classes, you can alert those who might be messaging you so they are aware of your plan and don’t think you are ignoring them.
- Prepare for your screen-use changes. If you’ve decided you’d like to refrain from screen-use at meals, for instance, you may need to sell the concept with the others you are dining with – and select a restaurant that doesn’t have televisions on every wall.
Please offer your tips for modifying screen use or share a success story. Now, I’ve got to log off and go for a run.