If you read this headline, you’ve already lost.

A "pledge card" suggested to SFW organizers. (Screenfree.org)
A “pledge card” suggested to SFW organizers. (Screenfree.org)

Monday, May 5, apparently marks the start of screen-free week, an “international celebration” wherein “children, families, schools and communities” forgo the demon computer and reconnect with nature, reality and/or each other.

If you’re reading this, of course, you’ve already lost! Better luck next year. And there will be a next year. This annual shebang has gone down in one iteration or another since 1994, when “screen-free week” meant avoiding patio doors or something.

For the curious, screen-free week is organized by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which frets that “screen media dominates the lives of far too many kids, displacing all sorts of other activities that are integral to childhood.” This is a very legitimate concern — in fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a warning to that effect last October — though it seems a smidge displaced in this case. One of SFW’s hand-outs, for instance, quotes a gleeful, screen-free kid crowing that the absence of TVs, computers and video games inspired him to read. As if books aren’t available on computers and other screens…? It’s like the Kindle never even happened.

Anyway, if you are planning to hastily power down and start celebrating screen-free week, CCFC offers some resources here. For instance, if you forgot what people do when they’re not staring at a phone or tablet, the organization has helpfully compiled a list of 101 (!) revolutionary screen-free activities.

Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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Caitlin Dewey · May 2