Next month, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Child will be leading what it’s calling “Screen-Free Week.” This national event is designed to get parents to turn off the TV, computer and other devices and find alternative ways for their children to play and learn. There’s no denying that it’s going to be awfully hard to accomplish this, but maybe “Screen-Free Week” will heighten awareness of just how much time children spend in front of electronic screens. And the numbers are astounding; a Kaiser Family Foundation study last year revealed that 8 to 18 year olds are multitasking on cell phones, computers and televisions to the tune of almost 11 hours a day.
At Hofstra, the School of Communication is leading its own related challenge: “A Week Without the Web (WWW).” From April 4-8, students, faculty and administrators will be asked to try to go about their lives without using the Internet. We’ll be tasked with looking at the way we live in 2011 and examining just how dependent we’ve become on the constant flow of information so accessible through our computers and hand-held devices.
I’m planning to incorporate WWW into my PR classes but before I reveal what I have in mind, I’d like to put the question to my students: Could you manage to go a week–a day–or hours–without the web? How might we apply this challenge to our classroom experience for a few days in April? Your thoughts?