Category: unplugging the family

Teens Unplug: No Facebook or Texting

By , January 8, 2011 11:21 am

More than 600 teens from a high school in Washington State recently conducted an experiment in which they quit social media-use and texting for one week.  Thanks to teacher Trent Mitchell who came up with this “Social Experiment” (Theme:  “What was life like in 1995?”),  kids learned to communicate the “old-fashioned” way:  by calling friends and parents on the phone and actually speaking.  Many of the teens had never spoken to friends on the phone before, and found that their friends were awkward conversationalists:

But [Cole Sweeten, 17]  likes getting calls. He prefers a real “Hey, how are you?” to a “Hello” text with a smiley face. “People sound different when they’re on the phone,” he said. “It’s emotion, not just little lines.”

Another teen, Eimanne El Zein, 17, reported that it felt “weird” giving it up, but that each day got easier and she was able to take more time for exercise, like running with her dogs, something she never had time to do when Facebook was in her life.

Advice from 16 year-old Nicholi Wytovicz:

…activities such as shooting hoops or watching basketball are better distractions than ones that take 10 or 15 minutes, he said. “Do something that fills time in large segments,” he advised.

Read the whole article here:  Teens Go Old School, Quit Social Media

Photo is from the article:  Caption: “High school student Javier Caceres holds up a sign promoting ‘The Social Experiment’.” Photograph by: Erika Schultz, McClatchy-Tribune News Service

“Unplug Your Kids” in Breathe Magazine!

By , October 18, 2010 7:36 am

Thank you so much to Breathe Magazine for asking me to contribute to their fall issue article entitled “Your Kids Unplugged.”

I really like how they present the middle of the road point of view…REDUCE…don’t eliminate.  This is almost always what works best for families and it is so great that someone is actually discussing that!  Screen-free time does not have to be all or nothing (as I have tried to emphasize since the start of this blog).  Do what works for your family.

If you live in the Mid-Atlantic or Southeastern U.S. you can find out where to pick up a free copy of Breathe by clicking here.  If you can’t get a print version, then you can read the full article here.

“Unplug Your Kids” in Family Fun Magazine!

By , August 4, 2010 7:27 am

The August 2010 issue of Family Fun magazine has a great article entitled “The Great Unplugged Challenge” (“Better Than TV” on the cover) about a family who unplugs the TV and computer for 5 days. It would be an interesting and fun read for anyone considering unplugging their family.

Plus, I must admit proudly, that I was interviewed for the article and am mentioned (along with Unplug Your Kids) several times! VERY exciting!!

It’s on news stands now. Enjoy!

(PS.  A big thank you to Jennifer King Lindley for writing this article and for including me and Unplug Your Kids!)

Screen Free Week

By , April 20, 2010 4:31 pm

It’s Screen Free Week again (April 19th – 21st) and I almost missed it!

I have been really busy with life and school events and have sorely neglected the blog.  But since I “BWO,” I won’t apologize.

It is too late to set up my usual Screen Free Week Blog Challenge, however I do encourage everyone to give Screen Free Week a try by reducing or eliminating as many screens as possible in your family’s life for one week.  Anything is possible for just one week, right?

If this sounds like an interesting project to you, here are a few links that might help you fill those screen-free days and nights:


TV-Free Brainstorm

Practical TV-Free Ideas

The “Mommy I’m Bored” Box

Books for an “Unplugged Week”

Try out some of our Unplugged Project ideas


Impressions of a Week Without TV

My Mindful Week

Unplugging Yourself

How it Went For Me

You may love it or you may hate it, but you’ll never know unless you try!

PS.  Be sure to check out the many other TV and screen-free websites out there for more ideas, information and inspiration.  Also: and

TV-Free Brainstorm

By , September 23, 2009 9:45 am

Are you trying Turnoff Week this week? Don’t know what to do? It’s Wednesday, are you running out of ideas? Here’s a brainstorming-type list. See if you can find some inspiration here:

- Cook together – Bake fun goodies or make dinner.  Try something exotic – kids are far more likely to eat “weird” food if they make it themselves. Have a Kids Cook Night!

- Be tourists – visit a local attraction that you have never visited before.

- Try a craft or an art project. For ideas, you can always search the old Unplugged Projects (the category is: “Unplugged Project” of course!).  Be sure to check out readers’ links for ideas too.

- Flip a rock to see what’s under it.  Photograph, draw, or write about your results.

- Go outside and play.  If you live in a city and have no yard, then go to the park.

- Read a book out loud.  By the way, you don’t have to read only simple picture books to toddlers.  They love those, but a nice, appropriate chapter book read in bits can hold their attention (and yours) too.

- Put on some music and dance.

- Dejunk your house, or a room of your house.  Eliminating and organizing stuff might not always be fun, but it leaves you with a lightness of spirit when you are done.  Here’s a post with some ideas for what to do with your cast-offs:  Sort, Junk, Donate.

- Volunteer with your child for a local charity.  If you are unfamiliar with the organization it is best to call first to find out what they need and whether a child the age of yours would be welcome.

- Play some board games together, or have a formal family game night. My advice for preserving your sanity: try to pick a game that your children like, but that is not deadly boring for the adult participants. (ie. stay away from Candyland – that one sends me into an immediate coma.)

- Write a story together and illustrate it.

- Play with your pets, wash the dog, teach him dog tricks, put the cat away and get the bird out …

- Learn a new skill together: knitting, crocheting, French knitting (aka. corking, mushroom knitting, knitting knobby, knitting nancy, spool knitting), finger knitting, weaving, embroidery, needlepoint, wool felting. If you don’t have a French knitter, make one out of a tin can.  If you don’t have a weaving loom, make one out of a picture frame!

- Take a walk around your neighborhood, or be adventurous and go on a real “nature hike!” Check out these sites for more outdoors/nature-related ideas: Backyard Nature, Green Hour

- Organize a family (or neighborhood) soccer game.  Or basketball, or baseball, or tag, or “Mother May I…”

- When all else fails…bring out the Mommy I’m Bored Box.

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