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Screen-Free Week: Turn Off Those TVs, Computers and Video Games

PHOTO: It's estimated that for school aged children, screen time is second to only one other activity: sleeping. Photo credit: Neeta Lind/Flickr
PHOTO: It's estimated that for school aged children, screen time is second to only one other activity: sleeping. Photo credit: Neeta Lind/Flickr
May 5, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. - As the time that kids spend with television, video games, apps and computers continues to grow, they're being encouraged to take the next seven days to unplug. Sara Adelmann, screen time project manager, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, says this is Screen-Free Week, the group's annual initiative encouraging children to turn off screens in favor of activities like reading, hands-on playing or exploring nature.

"We are encouraging families and children across Minnesota to take part in Screen-Free Week so that they can have a better balance between the media and their off-line activities," Adelmann says.

Among the Screen-Free Week events in Minnesota is a "Ghost Hunters' Workshop" this Saturday at the Becker County History Museum in Detroit Lakes.

Excessive screen time can be linked to poor school performance, childhood obesity and attention problems, Adelmann says, and it is becoming more and more of an issue as tablets and smart phones become more common.

"Certainly we're seeing an increase in the use of mobile devices. A recent survey came out saying that just in the past two years, the time children spend on media devices has tripled," she ways."

It's now estimated that school-age children spend more time with screen media than in any other activity except sleeping.

More information is available at www.screenfree.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN