Screen-free week is here! Screen-free week always falls during the first week of May.
This celebration was originally developed to encourage people of all ages to think beyond a screen; whether that screen is your phone, tablet, computer or television.
It seems a bit ironic that screen-free week happens to fall during unprecedented times that has resulted in more screen time use than ever before. Kids are using computers as their classrooms, adults that are able to work from home are more than likely using their computers more now than they were in the office, and for those that are at home unable to work, I imagine the hours spent scrolling through social media and binge-watching Netflix has increased dramatically.
That being said, mental health has never been more important. We all need a break from our screens. For kids, going screen-free allows them to explore and play which in turn increases creativity, improves imagination, and builds curiosity. For kids and adults alike, it also leads to improved sleep, productivity and learning, and stronger relationships.
Now, it probably isn’t going to be possible to turn off our screens for the entire week. While that sounds like a great idea, I don't think our bosses or teachers would like that.
That’s why the creators of screen-free week have created screen-free Saturdays. This is an opportunity to unplug, destress, recharge and be present. It’s also the perfect time to focus on family and our wellbeing.
Maybe Saturdays don't work for your family, that’s OK. Pick any day of the week that works for you and turn those screens off for 24 hours.
Maybe an entire day isn’t realistic? Instead, choose to be screen-free every evening from 5pm until you wake up the next morning or choose to be screen-free for the first hour of your day and devote that time to yourself and your family.
Looking for activities to engage in during your screen-free time this week? Visit www.screenfree.org and take the screen-free Saturdays pledge.
In addition, check out the virtual 4-H and YMCA 4K hosted by Nebraska Extension in Washington County and the Blair Family YMCA.
Jordan Luxa is a Food, Nutrition and Health educator for Nebraska Extension in Washington County. She can be contacted at 402-426-9455, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Washington County Extension website at www.washington.unl.edu.