What do you need for your Screen-Free journey?

What do you need for your Screen-Free journey?

It’s here… Screen-Free Week starts Monday, May 1!

We hope you’ve made a pledge to join us (or, even better, planned a Screen-Free Week event!) If not, there’s still time!

Our biggest word of advice for next week? Manage your expectations.

  • Try working on ONE screen habit.
  • Take a break from ONE app.
  • Step outside for ONE deep breath in nature.

Remember, we’re going for progress here, not perfection.

How do you feel?

One thing we’ve learned from planning this year’s Screen-Free Week is that the Covid pandemic fundamentally and irrevocably changed our relationship with screens.

During that period, our screens become a lifeline and even a tether to sanity for many.

We understand that, in that context, asking people to go “screen-free” may seem not only like a luxury, but maybe even dangerous. (What if our kids are in trouble? What if we miss a deadline? How will we attend this Zoom meeting?)

We hear you. We feel that way too.

However, at the same time, we also know that the pandemic forced us all to sort of make a “deal with the devil.”

We readily choose to go ALL IN, knowing that more time staring at screens, more distraction, and more dependence was likely to have some negative impacts. We know it did for our children.

Honestly though? What other choice did we all have?

That’s why we believe Screen-Free Week is so important. We need to pause, recharge and reboot. If we don’t intentionally carve out this time, it simply won’t happen. The tools we have today are too omnipresent and integral to our lives to allow for long offline breaks naturally.

We believe Screen-Free Week is an important lifeline and tether to sanity too.

What do you need right now?

However, we’re at an interesting transition point in our culture.

We’re inviting everyone to make a change in their lives next week, but we also acknowledge that we’re all fighting different battles, with complex relationships to devices that didn’t even exist a few decades ago.

There is no one “right” way to manage our relationship with technology. There is no one way to be “screen-free.”

That’s why it’s so important to tell us what you need right now. What would make your Screen-Free Week successful? (How do you even define screen-free success?)

How can we support you in your Screen-Free Week journey? Our resoruce library is full of best guesses, but some of those tools may have outlived their usefulness while others may be critical to your week without us even knowing it.

If you don’t know the answers to any of these questions yet, that’s OK!

But please, check in with us after Screen-Free Week is over. We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for the future!


Screen-Free Booklist Authors Celebrate Screen-Free Week

Screen-Free Booklist Authors Celebrate Screen-Free Week

Our 2023 Screen-Free Booklist, in collaboration with Children’s Book Week is filled with awesome books to inspire healthy screen time! Three authors of books added this year shared videos with us where they talk about Screen-Free Week or read from their stories. Check them out below and get the full booklist here. 

Author Howard Pearlstein wishes us a happy Screen-Free Week and talks about his book, Connor Crowe Can’t Let Go!


“Would you rather have 100 friends that you’ve never met online or one that will actually show up in person when you really needed them?” Author Dr. Allan Peterkin reads from Peacock & Sketch.

Author Annette Sexton reads from Timmy’s Monster Diary: Screen Time Stress (But I Tame It, Big Time) for Screen-Free Week.

Stephanie Wildman reads her book, Treasure Hunt, a new addition to the Screen-Free Children’s Booklist this year! 

We can’t wait to celebrate with you during Children’s Book Week and Screen-Free Week, from May 1-7, 2023! Happy reading!

Get Revved Up After You Power Down!

Get Revved Up After You Power Down!

Screen-Free Week is an amazing opportunity to reboot, recharge, and rest. It also might get you thinking…

  • Why can’t EVERY week be this mellow?
  • How did our family’s screen habits get so out of control?
  • Why am I still reaching for my phone three days after I stuffed it in a drawer?

Sometimes it takes the act of removing something toxic from our lives to realize how just angry it has made us.

While Screen-Free Week is a positive event, it was created to address a pretty negative phenomenon, namely the fact that our entertainment screens are sucking up huge chunks of our lives. It’s OK to be grumpy about that.

Why not put those feelings to work and devote some of your Screen-Free Week to activism and advocacy, in addition to, the rest and relaxation?

Sound intriguing? Here are some ideas to consider.

Are you worried about kids and screen time?

We are too. That’s the whole mission of Fairplay, the host of Screen-Free Week and the Screen Time Action Network. Both could use your help.

We’ll be needing all hands on deck in the coming months to help support new legislation surrounding kids and screens. Sign up for Fairplay’s email list to learn more.

If that’s not your thing, consider joining one of the Action Network’s work groups on topics like online harms, nature and play, screens in schools, and mental health, or downloading their new Screen Aware Early Education Action Kit. Or, simply become a member.

Are you worried about LGBT+ online hate?

We are too. It’s particularly rampant in social media. In fact, 40% of LGBTQ+ adults and 49% of transgender and nonbinary people say they do not feel welcomed and safe on social media.

So, what if you dedicated your Screen-Free Week to taking a #HolidayFromHate—a campaign started by Screen-Free Week teen volunteers? The goal is to go dark for one week on the social media platform of your choice, wherever you find cyberbullying, trolling, and online hate the worst against LGBT+ and other marginalized communities.

Be sure to pair your “holiday” with a little action, too. Let your social network know why you’re taking the #HolidayFromHate, share the hashtag, and send an email to that platform letting the owners know that people’s lives, voices, and safety deserve more respect.

Also, if/when you return to that platform on May 8, get ready to start using that block or report button to take a more active role in reporting hateful posts.

Are you worried about teenagers?

We are too… and many of them agree with us! That’s why teen volunteers are also running a Screen-Free Week campaign to encourage young people around the globe to take a week off their most toxic social media accounts.

The campaign is called #RememberLife? It’s a chance for youth to reflect on the parts of their lives they’ve lost touch with because of social media, or the parts social media may have damaged. Before their phones took over their lives 24/7, teens were just kids with hopes and dreams. Remember those?

We grown-ups aren’t invited to participate in this particular campaign (WE remember an entirely different kind of teenage life!) But our teen volunteers would love it if we invite the young adults in our lives to follow the hashtag on Instagram and TikTok, share their stories, and take a break, May 1-7.

Need more ideas for taking action during Screen-Free Week, especially when you have younger kids at home? Check out our Screen-Free Saturdays blog post, called “Unplug to Help” for kid-friendly ways to take your Screen-Free Week to the next level!


NEW! Books to Inspire Healthy Screen Use

NEW! Books to Inspire Healthy Screen Use

We love celebrating during the same week as Children’s Book Week because one of our favorite Screen-Free Week activities is reading! 

Each year, we pair up with the Children’s Book Council to curate a list of books that inspire kids and teens to unplug and have healthy relationships with technology! This year, we added six awesome new books to our list! We love so much about them, but here are the highlights, below:

by David W. Miles, illus. by Natalie Hoopes (Familius)
What we love: Simple words and soft illustrations celebrate the idea that books, with no off switch and no need to charge, hold amazing worlds! (Ages 4-8)


Climb On!
by Baptiste Paul, illus. by Jacqueline Alcántara (NorthSouth Books)
What we love: This multilingual (English and Creole) book tells the story of a child who pulls her dad away from the TV to go for a hike. The two bond as they encounter little adventures on the way to the top! (Ages 4-8)


Peacock and Sketch
by Allan Peterkin, MD, illus. by Sandhya Prabhat (APA Books for Children and Teens)
What we love: Kid-friendly commentary on influencers and fast fame! We love the illustrations, the quirky Peacock character, and the message of the importance of real friendship. (Ages 4-8)


Connor Crowe Can’t Let Go
by Howard Pearlstein, illus. by Stefani Buijsman (Clavis)
What we love: It’s hard to put down the screen; this book adds humor to the problem when the screen literally sticks to little Connor! (Ages 5-9)


Treasure Hunt
by Stephanie Wildman, illus. by Estefania Razo (Lawley Publishing)
What we love: A big brother leads younger siblings away from video games and toward a fun treasure hunt! We love to see siblings guiding siblings in healthy screen habits. (Ages 5-12)


Timmy’s Monster Diary: Screen Time Stress (But I Tame It, Big Time)
by Dr. Raun Melmed, illus. Jeff Harvey (Familius)
What we love: This book was written by an ADHD expert for children who need support with device use. We love that it offers concrete tactics for managing screen time, a suggestion made by a peer to Timmy the monster who finds success and a happy balance in the end. (Ages 7-11)

The list also features past winners, which include books for readers ages 0-18! Get the full list here.

What we love about these books is they serve as great conversation starters. We look for books that don’t shame kids about their screen use, but instead are empathetic to how hard it is to put down a device while also providing inspiration to unplug!

We can’t wait to celebrate with you during Children’s Book Week and Screen-Free Week, from May 1-7, 2023! Happy reading!


Find Your Spark With Children’s Book Week 2023, May 1-7

Find Your Spark With Children’s Book Week 2023, May 1-7

Established in 1919, Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in
the country. Every year, young people across the country participate by attending events at
schools, libraries, bookstores, celebrating at home, and engaging with book creators both online
and in person.

This celebration of books and reading is a time for readers of all ages to share books that they
love, to discover new books, and to engage with their communities.

We LOVE books and we want people everywhere to tap into that same joy. Every Child a
Reader’s mission is clear in its name, and Children’s Book Week is one of the main ways we
work to accomplish our goal.

So, what can you do to celebrate Children’s Book Week (May 1-7) and what resources do we
have to help?

Children’s Book Week 2023 is all about the spark of inspiration that can come from a book. Our
theme is Read Books. Spark Change. which speaks to the power that books and stories have
to inspire positive change. Books can spark change within an individual reader, a family, a
classroom, or a whole community.

Every Child a Reader has created a bunch of free resources for kids and adults to celebrate and
find their spark.

  • The Official Children’s Book Week Poster by Rilla Alexander. About her poster Rilla said
    “For the theme Read Books. Spark Change, I kept coming back to the butterfly effect. And
    how, even if you’re small, you can make a big difference.”
  • Activity pages in Spanish and English. Kids can color their own poster, write or draw a
    story, and more.
  • Find Your Spark Challenge. Follow the steps in the Challenge guide to find your newest
    spark from a book.
  • Bookmarks with activities by five amazing illustrators. Print them all, cut the bookmark
    off to use in your current read and enjoy the fun, related activities.
  • Drawing Instructions. Kids interested in learning more about how illustrators create book
    characters can use these step-by-step instructions to draw all kinds of things.

Anyone can celebrate from anywhere using these resources. You can host a book party, go to a
library or bookstore, read by yourself, or read with someone. Let us know how you are
celebrating on social media using #ReadBooksSparkChange.

We love that our celebration coincides with Screen Free Week. Diving into a good book or
magazine is a perfect way to celebrate both!

Guest post by our Screen-Free Week promotional partner, Every Child a Reader.