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Monday, April 30, 2012

This Week at SBPL I Discovered ... Screen-Free Week!

Beginning today, Monday, April 30 through Sunday, May 6, people of all ages are electing to turn off their screens in recognition of Screen-Free Week (formerly TV-Turnoff Week).  There is a website, an office in Washington, DC and activists all over the world dedicated to this one week in 52!

The Library has numerous books on the topic as well diversions.  For more information on activities and details on the Week, go to  For local Library diversions, see our events calendar at

I have been challenging my family with this week for years, so we are quite used to the idea.  However, everytime I mention it to someone for the first time I get a look like I just said I planned to set myself on fire!  I don't know about you but I find it a little scary that anyone would find it so impossible to conceive of not watching television for a week, let alone not using a computer (for entertainment) or other electronic device.  I enjoy television and computers too, but jeez it's just seven days.  I like the challenge!

There is plenty to do, especially this time of year. We are lucky to have a great Library, but there is also the Delaware-Raritan Canal to explore, as well as your own backyard.  Play tennis, croquet, start your tomato garden, dust off the board games and play together, clean out your closets and donate the excess to the Food Pantry and Goodwill, etc.  How about calling up some neighbors to come sit on your deck for tea and a chat?  Teach your child how to jump rope or play hop scotch.  My kids always liked to play Legos and ping pong during the week.  Why not write down a new idea to try each evening? 

After everyone gets home from work there is really just a couple of hours to fill.  Have a family sit-down dinner together and clean up together.  After the dishes are done and homework is finished your night is almost at an end (provided you are not already at any scheduled extra-curricular activities anyway). 

Too tired to want to do anything?  That's OK.  Read a book or just sit back and relax and listen to music.  It's really up to you.  The challenge is yours.  Why not try it?  You have nothing to lose except some time in front of a screen. 

Finding that time is really the challenge these days!  Whether I am shopping at the mall, on the treadmill at the gym, or sitting in the dentist chair, there is an unsolicited television screen thrust in my face.  It's really kind of offensive, as if I can't spend a moment without televised entertainment.   

It's been said that the brain activity is more engaged daydreaming than while watching television. See more about this on the website

Screen-Free Week is an annual event where children, families, schools and communities are encouraged to turn off screens and "turn on life." Instead of relying on television programming for entertainment, participants read, daydream, explore, enjoy nature, and spend time with family and friends.

In 2010, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) became the home of Screen-Free Week at the request of the Board of the Center for SCREEN-TIME Awareness (CSTA), which ran the initiative since 1994 (first as TV-Free America). CCFC launched a new website and developed a new Organizer's Kit, fact sheets, and other materials for Screen-Free Week 2011 and beyond.

Although my teenage children complain that no one else but me actually attempts to be screen-free this week, it is estimated that more than 100 million people have taken part in the turnoff, with millions participating each year.  So there! 

If you participate, please comment here about what you did in your new-found free time!

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