April 12, 2012 Ommm…want to join me in turning off all glowing electronic devices to celebrate CCFC’s Screen Free Week of insight April 30-May 6, 2012? It’s a great chance to unplug…and reconnect.
Much like the freebie candlelight yoga practice I stumbled upon last evening, it’s a welcome surprise to experience the calm, centered, simplicity tuning into one’s internal compass and tuning out the digital hum.
It enables you to reset your own priorities, right your course and (re)create your pathways away from the ‘always on’ deluge of distractions and interruptions.
We all know children need to stretch their developing bodies as much if not more than their emerging minds, so this screen free respite is a strong reminder to explore alternative forms of play, outdoor romping, tactile chalk art, indoor forts, yoga, tumbles and imagination soup all swirling into a pretend pot, as I wrote in this interview with Susan Linn about The Case for Make Believe and this one on defending pretending and the value of unstructured play.
Screen Free.org has it’s own resource-packed site, and while some approach the week as if it were like unclamping the IV digital drip weaning slowly with reticence like withdrawal from an addictive substance, I tend to free-fall into the zealous ‘yank the dang plug out of the socket and go dark, woohoo!’ gleeful camp of participation.
Want to join in the fun with your own group, or family, or challenge a grade by grade gadget-be-gone, “all screens off” week throughout the entire school? Here’s a free CCFC ‘how to’ kit.
Our own kick-off event is May Day!
Shaping Youth and Reach and Teach are teaming to host eco-games, read alouds, crafts, and night time outdoor ‘glow-tag’ fun…(We even have a free book giveaway at the end here, see the video below)
We chose May Day as a double entendre ‘call to action’ because this new study showing nearly half of pre-schoolers are not playing outside is a clarion call to Rich Louv’s “The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the end of Nature Deficit Disorder.” (he’s just posted a FREE ‘field guide’ to get us all hiking down that path together)
I’m not shouting “May Day” in alarmist style, but rather invoking an alert for healthy media balance (here’s CCFC’s pdf fact sheet on kids and screen time).
For those of us who are fully immersed in media literacy and digital doings, we ESPECIALLY need the unplugged respite and peacefulness of being AWAY from pings and bleeps and chimes tugging at the hem of everyday living like a petulant child.
Screen Free Week may seem like a challenge when wee ones are using smartphones as play toys, parents are doing the ‘pass back’ in the car seats and tablets and apps offer copious quantities of creative engagement just a swish and tap away. But that’s all the more reason for a ‘digital cleanse’ to reconnect to the very base level core job as parents to introduce new elements and encourage self-guided creativity.
Their focus on peace and social justice means their entire collection is hand-selected with fair trade, painstakingly sourced items and topics that raise the emotional ‘EQ’ as well as IQ of humanity.
From understanding the earth and our relationship to its health, to gender equality and diversity in a wide range of childrens’ books their new San Mateo hub is a perfect community meeting spot to bring together Screen Free Week as well as our newly announced resurgence of our parent education monthly film fests, with the first screening for the spring taking place May 15, 2012, CCFC’s Consuming Kids along with Shaping Youth’s activities and media literacy Q&A.
I’ll be doing a follow up post “5 Reasons, 5 Studies” to give point by point details on “why to try” Screen Free Week (again, up to you how you want to participate, but here are some FABULOUS ideas of what others are doing to get you started)
I’ve noticed a dearth of ‘free thinking’ ideation and the need for ‘help’ and ‘starters’ to get the ball rolling in terms of how to make NON-screen media and outdoor time equally alluring when our cultural currency is cool media…so CCFC is smart to use social media to SHARE ideas so they can be replicated nationwide and mapped and pinned to get folks thinking about face time, buildables, creative arts and face to face open-ended play time.
Even products that were once specifically ‘free form’ like Lego, long lauded as open-ended building blocks of the future has gone ‘pre-fab’ with its assembly kits, licensed themes and now of course, the controversial Lego Friends’ gender bias dumbing down female figurines into appearance-driven slices of topicality instead of STEM suitable build your owns with colorful blocks guiding toward ANY interest and opportunity. Why not approach the possibilities and plausibility of neuroscience and brain plasticity for BOTH genders in positive, free form play? Let’s do it.
Get moving with some kids parks and recreation meetups…and share arts, crafts, and book club storytime with us on May 1st at Reach and Teach, in San Mateo, (map here).
To celebrate the merge of ‘old school media’ and new school wonders, we’re asking you to leave a comment about what YOU plan to do for Screen Free Week to be auto-entered into our giveaway of the charming, inspiring award-winning book “Press Here” by Herve Tullet.
You’ve all seen the presumption/viral video of a baby swiping her finger across the print magazine in an ‘ipad’ motion right? (developmentally tactile play, probably, but hey, who knows) And I love the hilarious Good Night iPad digital ditty riffing on Good Night Moon below…
Well, this one’s a keeper (and a great baby shower gift reminder to READ/cuddle not just hand over the iPhone with a voice recording) Press Here by Herve Tullet connects the dots (literally) with colorful amplification of ‘how things work’ using imagination and the printed page. They multiply ‘like magic’ to bridge the two worlds of digital depiction and pretend play in a brilliantly simple concept that the author executes beautifully.
Here’s the book trailer (digital marketing in itself, and the behind the scenes peek at the evolution of a book trailer too!)
See? There’s a screen free week idea right there…a puppet show enacting scenes from any book we might encounter at Reach and Teach or a storyboard explaining through art how a book comes to life. The options are endless and the choices are yours.
Join us to unplug, and reconnect.
See you at Reach and Teach for snacks and screen free celebration on May Day!
A Few Related Posts on Shaping Youth About Play
Shaping Youth Related Reading On Media Management
Shaping Youth’s SCREEN FREE WEEK Ideas
Media Overload: Behavioral Reverb
American Data Diet/Info Overload:
Information Overload Research Group (IORG) (amazing resource)
Information Overload Day (yes, it has its own day too! who knew?)
Also from IORG:
- Xerox Corporation’s Information Overload site – insights, resources and articles.
- Interruptions.net – A compilation of over 200 articles related to Interruptions and Distractions
- Challenge Information Overload – a blog dedicated to the subject