Screen-Free Week and Me by Josh Golin

Given that my daughter (almost 2.5) is screen-free year-round, the week won’t really affect her (although hopefully her father will be a little less distracted). So for me, the week is more about looking in the mirror.

Giving up TV will be easy. If it weren’t Screen-Free Week, I would definitely watch some of the NBA playoffs but given that my team (don’t laugh – the New Jersey Nets) isn’t in them, it won’t be much of sacrifice.

But the Internet is another story. I know I spend way too much time online. I never joined Facebook, but Twitter definitely has its hooks in me. I get lost clicking from tweets to news and commentary. And then there’s commentary on the commentary and before you know it, wow – is it really midnight? I swore I’d be in bed by ten.

I could probably rationalize that the news and blogs I consume aren’t entertainment. After all, I’m not reading TMZ or even, for the most part, establishment media – I’m educating myself by reading alternative news sources and brilliant commentators. And isn’t it my job – both as an activist and a citizen – to be informed?

But it’s Screen-Free Week – and I owe to myself and my family not to rationalize. And as wonderful as the Internet has been for me for so many reasons, when I can’t pass by my office without checking email, when I stay up until 2:00 AM following the results of the Wisconsin Supreme Court election (yes, I really did that), when I find myself feeling cranky because no one has retweeted that brilliant tweet of mine, something is out of whack.

So here’s my plan for Screen-Free Week

1. No computer at home. No email, no Internet no matter what the content, no blogging, no tweeting, nada.
2. No Internet at work. I need to respond to emails, but rather then spending my Screen-Free Week trying to decide if an article is work-related or not, I’m going cold turkey.

I’m honestly not sure I can do it. But I do know I’m going to have fun trying. And I’m really excited to read more (offline! books!!!) than I have in years.