Take the Pledge!

Written by PTC | Published May 2, 2022

This week, May 2-8 is “Screen-Free Week.” Will you join with us, our friends at Fairplay, and tens of thousands of other families and take the pledge to take a break from screens and devices for one week?

Why Go Screen-Free

If you’ve been following the news, you’ll know that our young people, teens especially, are in crisis. From 2019 to 2021, the number of teens who report persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness has risen from 26% to 44%. More than one in four girls reported they had seriously contemplated suicide during the pandemic. Across the country, there have been dramatic increases in ER visits for mental health emergencies, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Public health officials haven’t identified the cause, but I firmly believe -- with every fiber of my being – that the media culture bears a large part of the blame. That includes both scripted entertainment with programs like Euphoria, and 13 Reasons Why and social media.

But if that weren’t reason enough, consider:

  • By age 18, according to the American Psychiatric Association, a U.S. youth will have seen 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence.
  • Studies have demonstrated a link between sexually-charged media and earlier sexual activity among teens. Researchers found that teens who are exposed to high levels of sex in the media are likely to become sexually active earlier in life.
  • 66% of children (ages 10 to 16) surveyed say that their peers are influenced by media.
  • Parents are concerned about TV’s ability to influence their children’s sexual decision making. Approximately 9 out of 10 American parents believe today's media contribute to children becoming too materialistic (90%), using more coarse and vulgar language (90%), engaging in sexual activity at younger ages (89%), experiencing a loss of innocence too early (88%), and behaving in violent or anti-social ways (85%). The majority of parents believe that media negatively affect their own children in these ways.

Here's What You and Your Family Can Do Instead

Cook dinner together Discover a new hobby Visit a nursing home

Take a hike Make something new! Game Night

Family read-aloud Volunteer together Plant a garden

Be a tourist in your own town Look for service opportunities

Family bike ride Get to know your neighbors

You will be amazed at the transformative power of a one-week break from screens on your family.

This is a great opportunity to reconnect with one another, to grow closer as a family, to get to know each other better, and to find purpose and meaning in a life shared together.

Do it. And report back to me what changes you saw in your family after one week without screens.

Take Action. Stay Informed.