Home Screen-Free Week: April 30 to May 6, 2012...

Screen-Free Week: April 30 to May 6, 2012

by Behnosh Najafi | | Posted under Workshops & Training

Can you go for a week without watching TV or using a computer?  Probably not.

What about your kids? Can you challenge and inspire the kids in your program to go without video games for 7 days?! What the heck would you do? Oregon Trail PTO has created a list of activities for youngsters during Screen-Free week.  My favorites: build a blanket fort, snuggle with your pet, learn to play chess, or rearrange the furniture in your room. For more ideas, Screen Free Week has an active Facebook page with great suggestions.

Host your own Screen-Free Week event to rally your community  or join Chloe Clark Elementary in Dupont or Sacajawea Elementary in Vancouver.

Our blog entry for the week in 2011 was one of our most popular for the year so here it is again!

by Jennifer Tucci, MPH, RD, Research Coordinator with the UW Center for Public Health Nutrition

Kids, families, schools, and communities pledge to turn off screens and turn on life.

On a typical day, 8- to 18-year-olds in this country spend more than 7½ hours with screen-based media such as television, video games, computers and hand-held devices.  That’s 53 hours a week!   (This total does not even include homework time on the computer.)   School-age children spend more time with screens than any other activity besides sleeping!

You may be surprised at this number but think about it…screens are everywhere!  And when the TV is on “in the background,” those hours can add up quickly.  The other thing that adds up is the number of advertisements children are exposed to while using all that screen-based media…40,000 ads a year on TV alone!

Too much time spent with screens is associated with childhood obesity, decreased academic performance, sleep disturbances, and attention span and other behavioral issues.  Although screens can sometimes be a good thing—you are all using a screen right now ?—we, as proponents of healthy youth development, can all do our part to help decrease the “unhealthy” use of screens.

Jazz Built a Fort

Build a blanket fort during Screen-Free Week!

This week is officially Screen-Free Week. Previously known as TV Turnoff Week, Screen-Free Week is a national celebration where children, families and communities spend seven days turning off entertainment screen media and turning on life.  The goal of Screen-Free Week is to not just turn off screens for seven days, but to think about incorporating more screen-free activities year round.  Think about it…If someone asked you about your three favorite activities, would watching TV or surfing the Internet make the list?  What would the response be if you asked kids the same question?

To get kids thinking about their use of screens, and to encourage them to reduce screen time, increase physical activity, and become “media savvy” and responsible users of screen-based media, the University of Washington Center for Public Health Nutrition has developed a media literacy curriculum for 3rd-6th graders called Powerful Choices: Healthy Living in a Media World.  Designed especially for out-of-school program settings, this FREE curriculum includes all the necessary materials: detailed lesson guides, activity sheets, handouts and even parent newsletters.  We can even arrange a free in-service training for you and your staff to help you get the ball rolling.  All we ask in return is your feedback after you implement the curriculum.

To download the Powerful Choices: Healthy Living in a Media World curriculum, as well as other resources for out-of-school providers on reducing screen time, go to www.wapartnersinaction.org/powerful_choices/.  You can also contact me at jennjt@uw.edu with any questions, comments or suggestions.

References:
Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds (A Kaiser Family Foundation Study)
American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement: Children, Adolescents, and Television.


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