'Unplugging' is discussed from Heber City to Singapore

Published: Tuesday, May 7 2013 5:00 p.m. MDT

Screenshot of Heber City's summer-long event, Heber Unplugged.

Internet screenshot

From Heber City, Utah, to Singapore, "unplugging" has been a topic of conversation.

Students in Heber City are invited to shut down computer and video game consoles as part of the Heber Valley Unplugged Challenge.

Heber City will launch the event May 24, encouraging youths in the area to spend more time being active by providing a list of different activities, dubbed "brag-tags," to be involved in within the community. Some activities include swimming, volunteering, fishing and reading.

Screen-Free Week is an annual event sponsored by Campign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. The event took place between April 29 to May 5,

"Instead of relying on screens for entertainment, participants read, daydream, explore, enjoy nature, and enjoy spending time with family and friends," according to the Screen-Free website.

Education organizations like Education.com and book publishing corporations like Random House Kids, Blue Rider Press and Scarletta Press gave their support for Screen-Free Week.

Singapore-based blogger Susan Koh, who writes about adventures in parenting on her blog A Juggling Mom, confesses in one of her more recent posts that she has turned into the media-bribing parent she vowed never to be.

With a toddler at home, Koh found it was harder than she thought to not simply pacify her child with electronics. And even though she tried to give her daughter intellectually stimulating apps to play with, it was still a brightly lit screen.

"I became the mum who gives in to my child’s incessant demand for my handphone or iPad just so that I can eat in peace," Koh blogged on April 25. "It doesn’t help that I’m always snapping pictures of my food before I eat, so naturally once Sophie sees my handphone, she’ll ask for it."

So she changed her strategy. Her daughter now engages with books, coloring books and other non-virtual toys to keep her preoccupied. For Koh, it's all about learning to balance screen time with meal time.

Emmilie Buchanan is an intern for the Deseret News with Mormon Times. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho. Contact her at ebuchanan@deseretnews.com

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