Have you broken down yet and flicked on that TV? A simple sports score? The morning news or cartoons?
Many families around Helena haven’t, and are getting active this week in honor of TV Turn-Off Week.
Students at Broadwater Elementary kicked off the television and computer screen-free week by hiking to the top of Mount Helena Monday night. Hiking Helena’s landmark is an activity Principal Sue Johnson does often, but this was the first time she invited all Broadwater students to join her as a way to promote healthy, outdoor activities away from screens.
It took about an hour for the group to make the nearly 1,000-foot climb to the top, which included a nice rest at Devil’s Kitchen. At the top, hikers enjoyed their snacks and the amazing view under a clear blue sky.
City and county commissioners signed a proclamation declaring this week TV Turn-Off Week, noting that the average American spends more than 1,700 hours watching television every year. That can have negative health effects.
TV Turn-Off Week is a global event that invited participants to decrease their reliance on screens of all kind.
“Turning off the television gives us a change to think, read, create and do; to connect with our families and engage in our community; to turn off TV and turn on life,” the proclamation reads.
School librarians at Helena’s elementary schools are encouraging their students to participate in the week through fact sheets offering suggestions for alternative activities, activity logs and raffle prizes for participating students.
Students at Jefferson are participating by developing their own contract on ways they can reduce screen time. Students at Hawthorne are being reminded this week to spend time outside playing and enjoying their families rather than parking themselves in front of screens when they get home from school. At Rossiter students who fill out the chart documenting activities they did to reduce screen time will have the chance to win $200 worth of prizes at an assembly next Friday.
Four Georgians students have joined the challenge to avoid screen time this week and also have the chance to win prizes, but staff at the school has also organized a week filled with evening events.
Monday night was art night where students moved through various stations in the hallways to make creative projects. In the library that night, a cup-stacking challenge timed how fast students could stack cups in certain patterns. Tuesday night was math night at Four Georgians where a variety of math games were set up for families to learn to play and encourage mathematical growth.
Tonight is the school’s annual Spring Fling, which Principal Melinda Thompson describes as a birthday party of sorts for the school.
Thompson said staff got involved to encourage a decrease in screen time.
“Not to mention it’s a way to have some great fun,” she said.
Alana Listoe: 447-4081 or email@example.com