I took a few minutes this afternoon and recorded a public service style podcast with a first grader giving a few examples of what families and students can do when they are not watching TV or playing video games. I personally think my family has a nice balance and we get to watch our usuals, (American Idol, an occasional Simpson episode and our favorite... Lonely Planet Traveler and cooking shows). In typical digital native fashion we surf the web, catch up on our blogs and watch a movie or TV show without a blink of an eye. Despite my age (a whopping 42 years), my mind has remained just flexible enough to do 4 things at once and I think it will mark the beginning of the end when I cannot keep up with my "slightly" younger wife.
My much younger colleague and friend Jeff Utecht has been dragged into the "Screen Awareness week" by his lovely wife Daneah Galloway. Daneah is one of the counselors at my school and she left a great post for him on HIS blog, The Thinking Stick.
"For those of you who are regular readers of The Thinking Stick, I offer my condolences. For the week of April 23rd-29th, Jeff Utecht will be unavailable to post any articles, respond to any inquiries, or leave any comments on your own blogs. This is due to his VOLUNTARY (well almost) participation in the annual “TURNOFF WEEK”where we take control of the power screens have in our lives. Jeff will be attempting to evaluate (along with thousands of other people and students from around the world) the amount of time he spends on activities involving a screen.Common sense tells us that "work" does not count on this week. We "get to" use computers and "screens" to do our work, but we are not allowed to have any "fun" with the "screens". Boy, oh boy, did that set me off with a few choice things to says this morning.
During this week, I would encourage you to do much the same. Take a break from your televisions, computers, and handhelds…take a break from screens and spend time exploring your life. Minimize your screen time for just seven days and maximize quality time with loved ones. Reevaluate your priorities. Just be."
I gave the following excuses as to why I would use screens (tonight) and not feel a bit guilty about it:
1. My work is like play (mostly) so it does not count.
2. My screen time is related to learning and personal improvement, thus it does not count.
3. I live in the PRC and I need to access news outside of this place, otherwise I do not know what is going on.
4. I want to and "plllllllllllllllllzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz" on you.
I think that number 1-3 work just fine. Number 4 is a bit suspect, but after having an elementary counselor shake her head no for 10 minutes straight at you while rolling her eyes, you would be giving her the biggest administrative raspberry too!
So what's my point? I think that this screen awareness week has hit the mark with me. No, I have not given up the small screen sitting on my lap. I have just been even more aware of the power it has to facilitate my learning, give me access to a world out of my reach and help me keep active, alive and learning. For you poor
slobs (oops... it is also No Name Calling Week in our middle school)... nice, but mislead people who just find themselves sitting in front of the 72 inch plasma screen watching some inane and ridiculous slop (like American Idol... poor Sanjaya, forever to be a Tiger Beat Reject) without being involved in the world of the web. Well.... good luck.
So tonight... my lovely wife and I sit LISTENING to our music on our iPod, she's correcting math papers and me catching up on my blogs and writing to you. My brain engaged. This was preceded by a family cooking adventure of Peanut Butter Cookies (NOT on my diet, but who gives a rip on Screen Awareness week), and we all reading a couple of kid books before putting the 3 year old down for the night. When I got home, my daughter (she's THREE) explained in no uncertain terms that her teacher told her that we were NOT to watch TV. We were told, and we followed our directions.
Thanks Daneah and Madeline. I hope we last the week... albeit in our own way.
Technorati Tags: Screen Awareness Week, TV Turn-off Week, The Thinking Stick, Peanut Butter Cookies
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