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Minnesota Children Encouraged to Turn Off the Screens

GRAPHIC: Children  and adults  are urged to resist the tantalizing images on entertainment screens for one week, starting April 29th. Courtesy CCFC.
April 29. 2013
GRAPHIC: Children and adults are urged to resist the tantalizing images on entertainment screens for one week, starting April 29th. Courtesy CCFC.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Today is the first day of Screen-Free Week, an annual effort to get kids unleashed from the grip of electronic devices - if only for a few days.

According to Dr. Susan Linn, director of Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood, the idea is to get kids away from video games, smartphones, tablets and TVs and get them to read, explore nature and spend time with friends and family.

"It's not even that screens are necessarily 'bad guys' - except for babies - but it's just that there's too much of them in our lives and way too much of them in children's lives and it's important to take a break," she declared.

It's now estimated that preschoolers spend an average of 32 hours a week in front of a screen and the number is even higher for older children.

The amount of time kids spend at a screen has been growing as technology has become more integrated in our everyday lives, according to Toni Riedel, director of communications at the Early Years Institute.

"Y'know, when we were young, we were outside playing," she recalled. "We were what's called 'free-range children.' Today, kids are tied to screens. You know, we're in such a technology-oriented society."

Riedel points out that for children from birth to at least age two, every week should be screen-free.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends: children under two - no screen media, no television."

Adults are also encouraged to take the pledge to swear off screens for a week, and only use them when required for work.

More information is at bit.ly/XdPstu.



John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN