Starting at sundown Friday until sundown Saturday (March 6th – March 7th), we’re celebrating the National Day of Unplugging by putting down our smartphones, tablets, and computers. You can find us outside exploring, playing games with family, and relaxing without the draw of the internet. Check out the bottom of this post for some ideas on how to spend today!
What is the National Day of Unplugging?
Started over 10 years ago as a way to encourage people to “start living a different life: connect with the people in your street, neighborhood and city, have an uninterrupted meal or read a book to your child.” The holiday is meant to be a full 24 hours, from sundown on March 6th until sundown on March 7th, uninterrupted by screen time on your phone, tablet or computer. If 24 hours is just not possible, try setting aside time, maybe a couple hours this weekend, and spend some time with friends or family without technology nearby.
Take the Pledge
Check out NationalDayOfUnplugging.com to learn more about the holiday, take the pledge to Unplug, sign up to host a Day of Unplugging event, or sign up for your own “Cellphone Sleeping Bag”.
Why Should You Unplug?
Beyond the benefits of going outside or spending time with your friends and family, unlimited screen time can have negative effects on your mind and body.
Although more research is needed to make a conclusive ruling on whether cellphone radiation is carcinogenic or not, other health effects like changes to brain activity, reaction times, dizziness and migraines have all been tied to screen time. Some scientists have also linked screen time to getting less sleep and lower quality sleep patterns. There is also evidence to support the fact that to much screen time can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.
How Much is Too Much?
The amount of screen time that can cause harm varies widely based on age, health, the type of device, how close it’s kept to you, and a handful of other variables. However, according to Psychology Today, for younger children they recommend 1-2 hours per weekday and maybe 3-4 on weekends. For teens, they note that it can be hard to police their screen time, but having a set time to put screens away before bed can help limit harmful effects. Regardless of age, everyone should try to limit the amount of time spent in front of screens.
Try putting phones away at mealtimes, have a “technology bedtime” to turn off phones, computers, and tablets before you go to sleep, and setting aside time to put your devices on “Do Not Disturb” and work on something else you enjoy, read a book, or go outside.
What to do When Your Phone is Off
Below we’ve gathered some of our favorite ways to spend time without a screen, like during the National Day of Unplugging.
- Go for a walk
- Read a book, comic, newspaper, etc…
- Paint a picture
- Learn a new hobby
- Play a sport
- Play board games
- Go to the library
- Go for a swim
- Explore your city
- Have an at-home Spa Day
- Work on a puzzle
- Create a scrapbook
- Have a dance party
- Go bowling
- Go hiking
- Fly a kite
- Clean something you’ve been putting off
- Volunteer nearby
- Learn an instrument
- Bake something you love
Whether you take the pledge to do 24 hours without your phone, tablet, or computer or are just taking a break for a couple of hours, the National Day of Unplugging is here to encourage everyone to take some time away from their screens to enjoy their friends, family, and the world around them.