Benefits and challenges of going “screen-free”

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)–A national campaign is challenging kids and adults to turn off the electronics for one whole week.  22news looks at why taking on that challenge could benefit your family.

For some it’s a welcome week of quiet, “I get tired of the dinging you have an email, somebody’s texting you,” Michelle Kulczyk of Springfield told 22News.

For others, like Alissa Phelps, it’s just not possible, “me and my boyfriend we have two different work schedules so it would be really hard for us not to text each other.”

The annual challenge is put out by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. From May 5th through the 11th, they urge families to turn off their tablet, computer, and video games for one week, with a few expectations like for homework, to get the news, or make phone calls.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that children in the U.S. spends an average of 7 hours a day in front of some type of electronic screen.

American International College Associate Dean of Education, Esta Sobey told 22News that children today are spending much less time outdoors than in previous generations, and that could have a negative affect on how the child learns and develops.

“And children need to do that they need to become independent, and independent learners,” Sobey said.

Some parents told 22News getting kids to turn those devices off isn’t always easy.

“It’s actually hard. I try that now and make them get off of those things I know when we grew up we did a lot more running and playing and going outside, and now the weather’s getting nice so I kind of have to force them to do that, which surprises me,” Kulczyk said.

Professor Sobey suggests replacing electronics with going to the park, to the public library, or taking a walk with your family.

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