April 18-24 is national "Screen Free Week", formerly known as TV Turnoff Week.
Do you think you could go a week without watching television? Or how about a week without using any electronic devices at all?
Children across the country are being challenged by coalitions of educators, physicians and parents to do just that. Screen-Free Week is a national campaign organized by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a national coalition working to combat the effects of commercialism among children and adolescents.
Electronic device use among children and adolescents has shown to have a negative effect upon children's health. Dr. Shelby Harris of the Montefiore Sleep-Wake Medical Center in the Bronx said she's had many patients whose sleep has been disrupted by using electronics before bedtime.
"It's really becoming much more of an issue with kids, teenagers especially, staying up late, using video games, all that stuff. They're putting sleep off!"
Dr. Chris Mason, a physician with the North Shore Long Island Jewish System, said children who watch a lot of television are also more prone to obesity.
"We know very well that there is a direct correlation between the time kids spend watching television and their snack preferences, and their amount of sedentary activity."
Dr. Mason also added that New York City kids were probably more prone to obesity than children living in more rural areas, where there is more room for outdoor activity.
Both physicians noted that the campaign was a great way to encourage children to limit their electronic device use and become more aware of the effects of electronics.