Screen-Free Week is about whether you’re able to go for a full week without using any electronic devices that have screens. This year, it’s being held from may 2nd to 8th. Basically, we’re talking about anything from smartphones, tablets, televisions, consoles, to computers and laptops. The numeral display on your microwave gets a pass.
I’ve participated twice in the exercise so far:
And I have to say I have mixed feelings about it. Sure, media addiction is a real problem. People spend a ridiculous amount of time every day being absolutely fixated to flickering screens, so much so that they don’t notice the real world happening live, right in front of them. So it makes sense to have a media awareness campaign that dares to ask people to look at whether or not their media consumption is balanced or not.
On the flip side though, as someone who’s participated in the challenge twice, I have to say that going a whole week without any means of contacting people digitally can be little harsh. If you happen to be isolated and you don’t have many, or any, people in your life that you can spend time with in person. Because, let’s say you came out to your friends and family and ended up alone. Then Screen-Free Week can be a bit of a tall order. In reality, it’s like asking someone to go without any human contact for a week. For outcast queer people like me, sometimes communicating digitally is the only type of socializing that we have access to.
It seems to me that the same people who preach about returning to more down-to-earth traditional values, and cutting off contact with technology, are the same people who exclude people who don’t fit the mold, from their communities. So you can’t really blame us if we become addicted to our electronic devices afterwards. Your communities are barred to us.