CBC Forum

Should your family unplug from smartphones?

A program called Family Day Unplugged is trying to convince people in Alberta to unplug from their smartphones and other devices and instead spend time focused on their family. Should your family unplug from smartphones?

Family Day Unplugged initiative tries to keep technology turned off for a day

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two not be exposed to any screen time and older children be limited to two hours a day. (J. Pat Carter/Associated Press)

A program called Family Day Unplugged is trying to convince people in Alberta to unplug from their smartphones and other devices and instead spend time focused on their family.

Could you or your family stand to reduce time with tablets, desktop computers, TV screens and smartphones?

Family Day Unplugged is one thing, but could you do it for a week? A month? Forever?

Does it make sense to cut your kids back to two hours of screen time a day, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics? Is it feasible? 

Should your family unplug from smartphones?

Readers gave us their thoughts in our latest CBC Forum, a daily, hosted discussion about topics of national interest. 

(Please note that user names are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style. Click on the user name to see the full comment in the blog format.)

"Thank God I've never had the need for a so-called 'smartphone' or even a simple cell phone for that matter. My wife takes the landline calls at home during the day, and I'm in my office at work sitting next to the telephone. As a busy public sector worker, the best part is I can leave work at work and not have to deal with anybody until the next morning." — david james

"Seeing some people that are unable to unplug is similar to watching a smoker going through withdrawal." — Bill Bishop

"Smartphones are wonderful tools that allow us to access information at our fingertips. However, I do agree that they need to be put away ... for politeness and for paying your full attention. Unplug, but only at dinner." — Shoahberg Gaz deKikes

"A cellphone is our books, letters, newspapers, maps, radios, tvs, light switches, keys, remotes, and more — and phones. The reason it's so pervasive is because it has replaced all those things. Giving up the 'smartphone' for a day means giving up all those things for a day." — Adrian Luhowy

"​In my family, devices have been: the reason for arguments; the thing that takes pictures of the family; [a connection] with faraway grandparents; along with being the place where online bullying happens, to name a few of the variety of issues they bring. Kids sneak them to bed and stay up all night with them. They also can connect with friends who have moved away and play games together through them. At times I collect them all up and want to throw them out. But then they need them for school! At my wits' end with them!" —Melody Allaire

"Go outside. The pixel definition is outstanding." — Nature

Can't see the forum? Click here.

With files from CBC's Joseph Quigley