Screen Discussion Evening & Screen Free Week

In the weeks leading up to this year’s Screen Free Week, a discussion evening for parents addressed the issue of screen use and how to strike the right balance between screen-based and real-world activities. Mr Fletcher wrote, ‘The initial focus of discussion was upon family values and culture. We all need to pan back and look at the big picture: What do we most want for our children? What do we really care about as a family? Pausing to reflect on these questions is crucial. It is too easy to go with the flow, or default to what works, rather than having the courage of our convictions and acting intentionally to create a family culture that reflects our higher aspirations for our children. This involves far more than setting boundaries. It involves inspiring our children with fun, life-affirming, real-world activities, and showing by our example what we think makes life most rich and full.’ 

This year’s Screen Free Week was held in mid-June and, as in prior years, those who participated committed to not making use of screens for leisure purposes. 75 families signed up to take part. In a survey to gather feedback from families who participated, we heard some common themes about the positive impacts to the family and what made the experience successful. Rediscovering time for other activities (reading, games, art, conversation, playing outside) was a frequently reported positive, and several respondents emphasised the importance of planning ahead to offer children alternative activities to look forward to.

What we heard

‘The children learned to potter and find things to amuse themselves.’

‘We were more together as a family – sharing more time and activities.’

‘Discussing as a family what we were doing and aiming for was really key.’

‘Proper preparation for the week [is important]—really have some alternatives in place’

‘Now the existing routines have been reintroduced, the kids seem to find the TV less interesting and have stopped (or not even started) watching at night, and played instead.’