The Washington Post

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

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

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 is The Post’s digital culture critic. Follow her on Twitter @caitlindewey or subscribe to her daily newsletter on all things Internet. (
Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.