From May 2-8, thousands of people across the United States and around the world celebrated Screen-Free Week. Thanks so much to all the SFW organizers who rallied their families, schools, and communities to participate!
Screen-Free Week Everywhere
From Maine to California, and everywhere in between, organizers planned amazing screen-free events and activities. There was Photography Day at the LeDuc Historic Estate in Hastings, MN, a Family Fitness Fair put on by the Department of Health in Charlotte County, FL, sensory play time and other activities at the Brighton District Library in Michigan, a Cinco de Mayo celebration at Maplewood Elementary School in Austin, TX, and a daytime campfire and a cave hike at the Lake Roland Park in Baltimore County, MD. The principal at Campbell Elementary School in Metuchen, NJ challenged his students to go screen free for the week with the promise to dye his hair an outrageous color of the students’ choosing—and after the week, he went pink! For media coverage of these events and other Screen-Free Week fun, be sure to check out our press page.
Lessons learned from Screen-Free Week
“Our three year old daughter was having a really hard couple of months with tantrums. The worse it got the more we were using Netflix as an escape. Then we decided something had to change. We put the computer away for a week, and then watched our daughter come back to us almost immediately. She thrived! She dove into deep play! We all connected more…Thanks for prompting this change! It has made us a happier family.”
-Andrea, Stephen & Eleanor
“We have never allowed our sons [screen time]. But last winter, I bought a few videos…He kept asking for them and started to be "bored" if he wasn't allowed a video. Then I decided to go back to the no screens policy…It only took my teenagers 2 days to re-adjust. They are back to playing with their remote control airplanes, playing board games, carving wood, riding their bikes, reading, arguing, etc. The house is alive again! They are better buddies again and don't whine for more screen time.”
“Screen-Free Week had a lasting effect in that we decided to only watch TV every other night [from now on]. The off-nights we will spend doing some of the other things we enjoyed doing so much
during screen-free week.”
-The Slakely Family, Salem, OR
“Screen-Free Week has had a lasting impact on my children, 5 and 2.5 years old. While they were very distraught at the onset, knowing they wouldn't have access to phones/tablets/TV, what they learned throughout the week is how much MORE fun they have playing with each other. They've never gotten along very well, and it was amazing to see them learn how to play well together.”
-Margaret P., Madison, WI
“Over the week, we noticed the following in our kids: better sleep, increased sister bonding, more imaginative play… We also talked about how different families make different choices, and why our family makes certain choices around screens and commercialism.”
-Alison M., Andrew U., Katherine (9) and Sophie (7), Somerville, MA
And be sure to check out the excellent MKE Moms Blog post “8 Lessons I Learned During Screen Free Week”.
Why People Love Screen-Free Week
“A great success! Thanks for initiating it. It is always good to have a reason [to go screen-free], and helps my daughter accept it when she knows she is part of something bigger.”
-Rebecca & Ester, England
“Landon says ‘I loved Screen-Free Week because there was no TV and I got to play with my brother, Noland. We played outside a lot.’”
-Onalaska Elementary School, WA
“I thoroughly enjoyed the amount of togetherness and the sounds of life that filled my otherwise quiet house in the hours after work/school and before dinner. It was nice to have them around while I prepared dinner.”
“I really enjoyed Screen-Free Week this year! The best part about it was leaving work and knowing I had a whole evening ahead of me in which to cook dinner, chat with my husband, clean up, read a book, and go to bed early. There was no guilty feeling regarding needing to check social media…I hadn't realized how much these things affect me until I cut it out.”
- Erin J., CO
“My family participates in Screen Free Week and has for the past 7 or 8 years. My daughters are 8 and almost 13. This year when we were talking about it coming up the conversation went like this:
Me: We're going to participate in SFW next week.
12 year old daughter: I'm not going to participate.
Me: We're all participating. It's what we do in our family.
12: year old daughter: I can't! I NEED to watch TV before I go to bed.
8 year old daughter: That's WHY we do SFW. To show us that we don't NEED TV.
I thought this was a perfect answer!”
-Melissa C., CA
Making It Last
Did Screen-Free Week inspire you to make reducing screen time a priority for you and your family? Check out these resources to get you started:
- 7 Parent-Tested Tips to Unplug and Play – Real-life strategies for reducing children’s screen time
- Healthy Kids in a Digital World – Tips, facts, and screen-free activities to help the preschoolers in your life unplug.
Additional resources can be found here.
Save the Date for 2017: May 1-7
Mark your calendar: Next year’s celebration is May 1-7. It’s never too early to begin planning, so download your Organizer’s Kit today. And join us on Facebook to share and gather tips, news and research about screen time all year.