Unplugging from a computer or cell phone can be difficult, but Interior Savings is making it easier to turn off the switch.
During Unplug and Play Week, from Jan. 21 to 28, children, families and communities are encouraged to take a step back from the television and spent time together.
One active Okanagan family is already practicing healthy habits.
Mother Valary Chidwick has three children: Owen Keyes, 17, Maeve Chidwick, 15 and Will Keyes, nine, who are active in sports and their community.
“We kind of always unplug and play because our kids are involved with sports,” said Chidwick.
The children take after their father, Daniel Keyes, in the basketball department, but Chidwick said as parents they have always encouraged their kids to explore the neighbourhood. She sees the positive effects of play.
“Owen is a really good driver because he knew the road beforehand after exploring it on his bike,” she said.
As a part of the Central Okanagan Parent Advisory Council, Chidwick said there is a noticeable difference between kids that spend time away from screens verses those who don’t.
“There’s a link with literacy. (For example) there’s a story with a boy riding his bike down an embankment. If you don’t know what an embankment is (it can be difficult to picture.)”
Chidwick thinks Unplug and Play is a fantastic program.
“It makes the kids happy in the community and it makes us feel like we’re not alone with (spending time away from a screen),” she said.
The family will be participating in the program.
— Interior Savings (@interiorsavings) January 5, 2017
“The point is not that technology is bad but we need to be mindful of balance. We use technology to improve health, quality of life and to free up time. But many of us are spending that new-found time and energy staring at screens,” said Kathy Conway, CEO of Interior Saving.
Events run from Peachland to Oyama and include: board game nights, outdoor events in the regional parks, story times, skating and more.
Unplug and Play kicks off with an event at Laurel Packinghouse, Jan. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For a full list of events, visit the Unplug and Play website or find details on Facebook by searching Unplug and Play Kick-Off Event.