The week of April 18-24 this year is "Screen-Free Week", sponsored by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. This is an opportunity for parents and children alike to unplug from the computer, television, hand-held devices, and video games that capture our attention and our minds.
I have written before, here, about my own habitual tendency to turn to the computer for entertainment. To be honest, the internet definitely captures my mind, and draws me away from the present moment both more than I would like, and more than is really healthy for me. The more time I spend seeking entertainment from my computer, the more my children are pulled into its seductive glare, and the more disconnected we get from one another. As I wrote in that post, it is hard to say no to my toddler's request to watch a video when he sees his main model of behavior constantly pulled to the screen to check email or read the latest Facebook status update.
As with all things, the fact that I use my computer, go on the internet, write a blog, and so on, is not problematic in itself. The problem is when I use it all to try and escape things as they are. When we habitually use entertainment to disconnect from reality in order to avoid relating to ourselves, others and the larger world - well, then it becomes an obstacle. An obstacle to experiencing the magic of being human, of living in the phenomenal world interconnected to all these other fantastic beings. An obstacle to experiencing and manifesting our basic goodness.
Our society is one in which entertainment is prioritized, and therefore, we have created about a thousand different ways to entertain ourselves - many of which are almost unescapable, and which can negatively impact the minds and hearts of our little ones (and not so little ones). Just as in meditation, where we practice just doing nothing, unplugging in our daily life can create a bit more space. It might be a little bit scary, this space. We might feel the urge to fill it all back up. So, work with that. Touch that uncomfortable, perhaps anxious feeling. See if it changes. Look underneath it. What might that be about?
So, this week we will be unplugging. I have some online deadlines due, so I will have to go onto the computer and email briefly to meet my obligations. But I plan on doing just that, not straying away into the magical interwebz as I so often do, searching for entertainment. I hope to be able to do this when my children are sleeping, and I hope to be able to spend the majority of the week truly unplugged. We will see how I do. Ahem. I will definitely have a lot to work with in terms of my thoughts around it all!
Contemplate participating in this week with your children. It might not be possible to completely unplug. But it might be useful to cut down a bit, discern when you really need to go to the screen, and where you are using it to escape or not deal. As a mama of two little ones 16 months apart, I truly understand that sometimes, you really need to just put in that DVD and let your children watch it. Truly! But this is a nice opportunity to look beyond those times, and see what else your environment might offer your family.
Complete info can be found here. Wishing you all a beautiful week.