March 2, 2011
You know that one of the goals of Future Craft Collective is to help kids learn the beauties of being a maker. We want to help them get back to the scrape, scrounge, dig, build, create approach to things. We’re not afraid of a little technology time, believe you me, but we believe all things must be in balance. Time making, time digging, time building, creating and some time watching too.
The numbers that have come out lately though about the amount of time kids spend onscreen – tv, video, computer – and frankly there doesn’t seem to be much of a balance for the average kid. Here’s just one statistic that gave me pause…
The average teen spends an average of 7.5 hours of screen time per day and less than 1 hour per week in conversation with their families. And the average preschooler spends an average of 32 hours a week with screens. Wow. Really? In addition to not then having time to make, play and create, the costs of excessive screen time are enormous—poor school performance, childhood obesity, and problems with attention are just a few.
So, in an effort to keep things in balance and just to make families aware of their own screen time vs. their own family time, there is an annual event called Screen-Free Week. This year it’s being managed by The Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood, a great group of folks trying to make sure the commercial powers that be don’t contaminate our children’s worlds with an excess of input from marketing and corporations. During this week they want families to find connection within the home. Find talents within themselves that they never knew existed. And find ways to spend time that are imaginative and creative and not dependent on passive intake.
Future Craft agrees!!!
We know that children are spending way too much time with screens—a staggering 32 hours a week for preschoolers and even more for older kids. The costs of excessive screen time are enormous—poor school performance, childhood obesity, and problems with attention are just a few.
Screen-Free Week is a fun and innovative way to improve children’s well-being by reducing dependence on entertainment screen media, including television, video games, computers, and hand-held devices. It’s a time for children to unplug and play outside, read, daydream, create, explore, and spend more time with family and friends. And, of course, Screen-Free Week isn’t just about snubbing screens for seven days; it’s a springboard for important lifestyle changes that will improve well-being and quality of life all year round.
Do you want to take the challenge? Do you want to find activities to do together and ways to build connection and spend a little time outside?
Right now, go to your calendar and write: SCREEN FREE WEEK across the week of April 18-24th.
Do it in whatever capacity you can. Want to just turn off the tv? Do that? No computer time during certain hours? No video games for a week? Discuss it with your family and figure out a way to make it work for you. We don’t want anyone using it as an excuse to not turn in a research paper but cutting it out in the name of connection and creativity sure wouldn’t hurt.
Are you wondering what you’ll do instead? Well, my mom used to say write a letter. Read a book. Read a letter. Write a book. If you need something more than that how about checking out some of our tutorials down the left side of the page? Or go to Craftzine and check out some of their projects. Check out Slow Family Living and download one of our ebooks on creating a Family Mission Statement or fill out our Slow Family Living workbook. Go to Nature Rocks website and find a place near you to hike. The library too is loaded with project books and ideas. Or just lay under a big patch of big blue sky and ponder life and all it has to offer. I think you’ll be amazed at just how much time you have when you make the decision to unplug for a little bit. Maybe it’ll even become habit!