Tech & The Web

How Many of Us Can Really Take Part in ‘Screen-Free Week’?


Screen-Free Week encourages children and adults alike to put down their phones and step away from computers and other screens.

Did you know it’s Screen-Free Week? No, I didn’t, either.

I just learned that we, at this point, are right in the middle of it. The idea behind the annual event, according to its website, is simple:

“From April 30-May 6, 2018, children, families, entire schools, and communities will rediscover the joys of life beyond the screen.”

I’m certainly not against such an idea, even if it means there’d be few of you reading the blog for the week. (There’s always archives, after all.) And I’d be the last person on earth to believe that there isn’t plenty of “joys of life” to be found “beyond the screen.” 

For some of us, however, setting aside all of those screens really isn’t an option. Some of us work in careers (and have roles within our fields) that require us to remain at least partially connected, even when we’re technically off the clock.

Some argue that’s unhealthy and I understand those concerns.

But in this day and age, our use of those screens isn’t all work-related. Some of us keep connected with our friends through our screens. Some of us use those screens to take an occasional photo while we’re out playing or exploring, or even when we’re spending time with family and friends.

Check out your Instagram or Facebook feed and you’ll find plenty of examples of this.

Too much screen time, of course, is a bad thing. I think most of us know that. We may not realize how many conditions are blamed on too much screen time. Aside from obvious issues like eye-strain and headaches, there’s the belief that it could make people more susceptible to metabolic syndrome, a combination of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure linked to an abnormally-sedentary lifestyle, the kind you might have if you spend a lot of time sitting in front of a screen.

Psychology Today reported screen addiction can cause a frightening restructuring of the brain, including atrophy of the gray matter, where “processing” occurs; as well as compromised integrity of white matter, which connects various lobes of the brain. It’s also blamed for impaired cognitive functioning.

(I’m wondering if you’re still reading at this point or whether that last paragraph alone was enough to make you turn off your device.)

I’ve argued in the past that it’s definitely a good thing to step away from your blog for a day or so when you can, and understand that this piece of advice comes from someone who blogs daily. Getting ahead of schedule means you can take an occasional day off and get out there and experience things that might give you inspiration for future posts.

But for those of us who can’t turn off all screens, maybe we’ll try to find time this week (and hopefully other weeks) to at least limit the amount of screen time we’re consuming.

By the way, you can click here to visit the Screen-Free Week website and find “screen-free” events in your area, although I find it amusing that there’s apparently nothing listed for my home state of South Carolina.

How easy it would it be for you to turn off all screens for a week?

Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.