What would it be like to live screen free, even if just for one day? Screens are so prevalent — smart phones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, TV’s, ATM’s, menu boards in fast food outlets — the list goes on and on!
Screen Time Boundaries
The idea of screen freedom has been percolating in my mind for some time. Back in the old days before smart phones or tablets even existed, my friend held a screen free day once a week for her entire household. No TV or computer all day, one day, every week. Kids and parents could play board games, read, make a craft, build a fort, go for a walk, play with the dog — anything they liked, as long as it did not involve a screen.
My friend recognized that her children needed space and time to be kids and initiate their own fun. As a parent, she understood that it was her role to set boundaries for her children while they were still young. By participating with them in their screen free time, she modelled a healthy alternative to unlimited screen access.
Daily Screen Time
In a recent article I discovered that adults spend, on average, almost nine and a half hours a day in front of a screen. Most desk jobs require access to a computer. That would account for seven to eight hours. What about the other hour and a half? That time is easily taken up by TV or phone or tablet use.
Though my parenting days are over, and I have freedom from a daily job, I am aware that I spend the bulk of my day in front of a computer. A weekly blog to write, emails to respond to, online courses I’ve signed up for and the serious task of researching the next vacation all require screen time. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube all have their appeal and provide distractions galore. And if that isn’t enough, there is an app for everything imaginable from travel to exercise to games to shopping and more. If you can dream it, you can find an app for it.
Screen Freedom Day
As I reflect on the use of my time, I realize that I have not set healthy boundaries for myself. I can’t remember the last time I spent an entire day without accessing my smart phone or tablet or TV or computer. I bemoan my lack of time to read or crochet or connect with friends but it’s my own fault. I’m easily distracted and entertained by Facebook or Instagram or the TV, especially when I’m tired at the end of the day. It is much more difficult to take part in an activity that engages my mind or body.
I’m looking forward to my personal challenge. Stay tuned for how it goes!
Have you ever deliberately taken a break from your screens? What were your reasons? What did you do instead? Let’s encourage one another to take steps in moving towards screen freedom. Let’s look up, see anew our world and our friends, distraction free.