British Columbia

Unplug & Play events aim to get families away from devices

An upcoming event is highlighting the need for families to step away from their screens and into the outdoors.

An early learning coordinator says it's all about balance

Unplug & Play Week aims to get kids away from screens and into the outdoors (Antionio Guillem/Fotolia)

An upcoming event is highlighting the need for families to step away from their screens and into the outdoors.

Unplug & Play Week starts Jan. 25 across North America and is being celebrated in communities throughout the Okanagan, Shuswap and Thompson regions in B.C.

Jennifer Findlay, an early learning coordinator with the Okanagan School District, said she's increasingly seeing children as young as one being handed iPhones or iPads to be entertained.

"The kids are missing out on that really important social interaction and oral language development time when they're just handed a screen to keep them busy," she said.

Findlay said kids under the age of two should be kept away from screens entirely.

Too much screen time as led to an increase in childhood obesity, attention problems and sleep issues, according to Findlay. She said some kids are even starting school with fewer motor skills and less language development.

The solution, she said, is all about balance.

She suggests that families discuss how to manage screen time with other activities. For example, families can implement a rule that one hour of screen time requires an hour of outdoor play.

Upcoming Unplug and Play Week activities include roller a family games night, lego building, and a puppet show.

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled Unplug & Play weeks aims to get kids away from screens

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