For Immediate Release
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Jean Rogers (617-896-9377); firstname.lastname@example.org
Screen-Free Week is April 30 – May 6, 2018!
Kids, families, schools, and communities take a break from digital entertainment and enjoy life beyond the screen
Boston — April 25, 2018 — Screen-Free Week is almost here! The international celebration, hosted by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, takes place April 30 – May 6, 2018. Schools, libraries, families, and communities around the world will organize events designed to help children turn off screens in order to connect with family, friends, nature, and their own creativity.
“Screen-Free Week is a great way to take a much-needed break from entertainment screen media and rediscover the joys of face-to-face communication and offline play,” said CCFC’s Executive Director Josh Golin. “Every year we hear from participants that not only did they have a blast, but the week led to lasting changes and healthier media habits.”
Reflecting the growing consensus that excessive screen time is displacing essential childhood activities, Screen-Free Week 2018 is endorsed by 102 public health, nature, and child advocacy organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children & Nature Network, American Public Health Association, Sierra Club, Reach Out & Read, National WIC Association, National Black Child Development Institute, American Horticultural Society, and The Alliance for Early Childhood.
Research shows that children’s screen time exceeds public health recommendations, and that excessive use of digital devices can lead to health and wellness problems:
- School-age children spend more time with screen media – television, video games, computers, tablets and phones – than in any other activity but sleeping.
- Teenagers consume an average of nearly 9 hours of entertainment media daily, with tweens averaging nearly 6 hours – and these numbers exclude additional media use for school and homework.
- Children aged eight and younger average 2 1/4 hours of entertainment screens daily, even though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 18 months avoid screen media (except video-chatting) and that children aged 2-5 limit their screen exposure to 1 hour daily.
- Excessive screen time is linked to a host of problems facing children today, including poor school performance, childhood obesity, sleep disturbance, depression, and attention problems.
"Screen-Free Week provides families with an important break from digital distractions. It challenges parents to be more thoughtful about the digital media choices that they make for their families,” said Colleen A. Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). “The AAP encourages families to think proactively about their children’s screen time and talk with children about it. The real danger of too much media use is that it takes away time during the day to play, study, talk, or sleep. Parents need to help teach their children how to use media as a tool to create, connect, and learn. The AAP’s new Family Media Plan tool can help.”
For this year’s celebration, CCFC has partnered with Every Child a Reader, the hosts of Children’s Book Week, also taking place April 30 – May 6. Children’s Book Week hosts free public events in libraries and bookstores, and CCFC and ECAR have created resources for hosting both weeks together, including joint pledge cards in English and Spanish and a list of children’s books about unplugging from digital devices.
Since 1996, thousands of parents, teachers, PTA members, librarians, scout leaders, naturalists, and clergy have organized Screen-Free Week celebrations in their communities. Here are just a few of this year's festivities:
- The Des Plaines Park District in Illinois will celebrate Screen-Free Week with a board game swap, an ice cream social, nature night, bicycle rodeo and ride, family golf night, and a campfire.
- In Granville, OH, community organizations are collaborating to host fun and free events for the entire family, including comic book day, a sports equipment swap, free admission to a school play, family game night, local history night, hikes, canoeing, and a kick-off festival at a local park.
- Students at Huckleberry Hill Elementary School in Lynnfield, MA, will celebrate Screen-Free Week with a variety of activities, including dinner at a local restaurant, Mad Science night, game night, an author reading, and a dance party.
- Hundreds of bookstores and libraries will hold events to celebrate Screen-Free Week and Children’s Book Week together. For example, Village Books in Bellingham, WA will be hosting free events for children, including story time, a crafts activity, and a week-long scavenger hunt.
Here’s what other Screen-Free Week endorsers are saying about this year’s celebration: