When learning how to balance screen time, one of the best things a student can do is take small breaks from technology. From improved sleeping habits to spending more time with family and friends, unplugging from technology has many benefits. So, this year we are celebrating National Day of Unplugging, which is celebrated by taking a 24 hour break from technology. This holiday takes place from sundown on March 6th, 2020, until sundown on March 7th, 2020.
Why should parents care?
Recent studies show that students spend a lot of time in front of screens:
- 84% of US teens and 41% of US children 12 and younger now have their own smartphones
- US teens now average nearly 7.5 hours of daily screen time (not including using computers or devices for homework or at school)
- More time spent having access to TV, video games, tablets, and smartphones in their room is associated with a reduced amount of sleep and reading, which can lead to lower grades
National Day of Unplugging in the news:
The downsides of our addictions to our digital devices become all too apparent: sleep, relationships, and public safety suffer when screens suck up too much attention. So much so that now there’s a new movement to reclaim time off-line. The National Day of Unplugging. –Elle Magazine
Although the official holiday lasts for just 24 hours, the idea is to create more awareness of how we interact with our devices and the impact this has on our work, family and mental health. Then people can take smaller steps to carve out device-free pockets of time during the day and eventually find a balance that works for them. –CNN
Unplugging regularly from an always-on world is necessary for anyone who wants a healthy relationship with their tech. –Washington Post
How can families participate?
- Take a pledge with your family to unplug from technology from sundown on March 6th, until sundown on March 7th
- Come up with fun activities you can do as a family while celebrating the holiday
- Collect all of your family’s devices in a drawer, basket, or bag and put them away for the day
- As a family, discuss all of the benefits of taking technology breaks and encourage your children to find things they like to do offline
Offline activities for families
- Nature walks
- Drawing or painting
- Cooking or baking
- Scavenger hunts
- Playing musical instruments
- Building models
- Visiting a farm or petting zoo
- Playing board games
- Hide and seek
- Setting up blanket forts
Keep a better screen time/offline balance going after the holiday
When National Day of Unplugging ends, it’s important to continue maintaining a better screen time and offline balance in your house. One of the best ways to reduce family arguments and get everyone on the same page regarding screen time, is to sign a smartphone agreement. It gives kids a glance at their own responsibilities as internet users and reminds them that using social media too much or in a negative way comes with consequences.