At Fairplay, we love Screen-Free Week for many reasons. Each year, we get stories from people around the globe about how unplugging, even just for one day, helped siblings get along better, connected people across communities, and boosted creativity.
We love hearing from people about their experiences, but what does research say about the benefits of taking time off screens?
The latest screen-free research
Last May, researchers from the University of Bath in the UK looked at the impact of taking a one week break from social media. They found that the levels of depression and anxiety dropped significantly when participants (age 18-72) took a break from popular platforms like TikTok, Instagram and SnapChat.
According to Bloomberg, the lead author Dr. Jeff Lambert said:
“Many of our participants reported positive effects from being off social media with improved mood and less anxiety overall. This suggests that even just a small break can have an impact.“
With the growing mental health crisis, we know that immediate interventions are needed to improve mental health especially of young people. A new study published in February 2023 by the American Psychological Association, “validates what some parents have experienced when their teenagers cut back: They seem to feel better about themselves.”
Reducing their screen time by just 60 minutes a day for three weeks made a significant positive difference in young people’s sense of self.
Unplugging also helps parents and kids build relationships. Researchers in Turkey actually studied Screen-Free Week and found that families who participated in Screen-Free Week realized:
- It was important to be intentional about how they interact with their kids
- That kids are happier when their families spend screen-free time with them
Following Screen-Free Week, families took the time to choose programs and digital games together and also set specific limits around screen time!
Screen-Free Week is a great chance to take stock of your screen hygiene and set new practices in motion!
For more information on the effects of technology on our mental health, check out this video by Fairplay’s Screen Time Action Network.
Thank you to Rachel Franz for this guest post. Rachel is Fairplay’s Education Director and former coordinator of Screen-Free Week.