Every year the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood sponsors Scree Free Week. When I was a kid it was TV Free Week, but they have expanded it for obvious reasons. As a child I recall hearing about it at school and whining to my mom about not wanting to participate. I don't actually remember if we did or not.
As a kid I really liked watching TV (still do :( ), but in an age before Netflix, DVRs and Hulu, I was limited on what I could watch and when. We also lived in the middle of no where, and it would have cost like $5000 to bring cable up to our house, we we had an aerial antennae. That meant that my dad had to go up on the roof to adjust it if we wanted another channel. So we pretty much only had the WB (now The CW), and even it was static-y and flipped around (only those who have experienced bad TV resection probably understand LOL). My grandparents had satelite/cable, and when I was there I would watch TV for hours, but even there I remember playing outside more than watching TV. Although I whined about TV Free Week, it wouldn't have made a ton of difference in my life, I was just a bratty kid that liked to complain.
As I have already said, my kids are practically screen free, so screen free week means nothing to them. I however am "screen captive". Many, many hours of my life are spend starting at either a television, computer screen, or a smartphone. While the hours I waste don't bother me, the weeks, months, and years of time they add up to do. When counting screen time, most researchers double count for time spent watching two screen (like watching TV while you check Facebook), personally I think that is silly and so for my (embarrassing) totals, I am only including hours I actually have. This number is huge. Even before doing the math I wanted to crawl under a rock from the impending humiliation!
91 Days! 91 twenty four hour days of my life are spend in front of screen every year. If you only count "waking days (16 hours or so for me)" it is 136 days, roughly 1/3 of my life.
Obviously I LOVE screens! Which is why Screen Free Week is so appealing. By doing this, I am getting nearly 3 "waking days" of my life back! Other than blogging, or paying bills or whatever, I get pretty much not satisfaction from my computer time. I mostly get an "Ugh, I just wasted so much time" feeling. Often I am not actually enjoying it, just to lazy to do anything else.
I don't think I will ever go 100% screen free permanently (or even mostly screen free, but still doing necessary tasks like bill paying). First of all, I like blogging (in spurts). Second of all I really, really like to play The Sims and Tropico (but rarely get to them after being sidetracked by the endless internet). Third of all, there are some TV shows I really like, and I don't want to not watch them.
What I don't like is the mindless surfing. The irritation by people posting things I don't agree with, but don't respond to because I am not a drama queen. The response to "click bait", or the obnoxious stories in my Facebook sidebar. I don't like the times that I check Facebook for the 51649th time of the day just because I don't know what else to do.
Last year I deleted my Facebook for awhile. I didn't really mind not having it, but I missed being involved with my family and friends so I rejoined. And I kept my friends list to about 50 friends. You know, people I would actually say hi to if I ran into them. Unfortunately I also found groups about that time, which greatly clogs my newsfeed now.
I want to be intentional with my screen time. I don't want to binge watch shows I have already seen. I don't want to download games because I am "bored". I don't want to mindlessly click around the internet, or spend hours scrolling Facebook.
Screen Free Week is like my detox, cutting off my addiction cold turkey (well almost, I am still texting and watching a minimal amount of TV with my husband if he asks me to).
How about you? How many days of your life do you spend glued to a screen every year?