If the recent snow days have resulted in an overload of television and video games in your home, bring the family for some screen detox at the Lexington Library Main Branch Tuesday night. “Unplugged: Family Fun Night” features storytelling, crafts and games appropriate for elementary-age children and their parents and younger siblings.
According to the organizers of the annual Screen Free Week, preschoolers spend an average of 32 hours each week in front of a screen, and older children spend even more time plugged in. Excessive screen time is linked with lower performance in school, obesity, sleep problems and attention issues.
Doreen Rinehart, a youth services librarian at the Lexington County Library, said unplugging for a night – or longer – can help families reconnect and spend some focused time together.
“We found that it’s easier for families to connect when there aren’t distractions like tablets and cellphones,” she said. “By taking people out of their normal atmosphere, we’re introducing them to a place where they can lay down their cellphones.”
The library hosts Unplugged nights once a month. Youth Services librarian Angie O’Connell begins the evening with a story and some songs and play. After that, families have an hour or more to do crafts related to the story or play board games, card games or Legos. It’s a noncompetitive atmosphere that allows families to celebrate literature and leisure time together.
“I think it’s important for parents to demonstrate to their children that literacy is important,” Rinehart said. “Sometimes that’s hard for parents, especially those with elementary-age kids who can read on their own.”