The child smiled at me as I walked by. I couldn’t help but smile back as I sat down at my table in the restaurant.
Who could resist smiling to a little girl with brown curly hair whose face was covered with spaghetti sauce?
She was probably around five years old, and clearly enjoying her lunch.
I settled in at my table next to hers, took a look at the menu, and glanced up to see the little girl’s brother.
Maybe three years old, he had a bigger smear of red spaghetti sauce around his mouth.
I tried not to chuckle out loud.
Their mom was enjoying her meal, too.
But in a different manner.
With her right hand, she picked up some French fries and placed them in her mouth. In her left hand, she used her thumb to swipe her smartphone to read her Facebook News Feed.
She seemed mesmerized with what she saw on the screen.
The mom paused, quickly typed in something with her left thumb, and continued swiping the screen on her phone as she ate another French fry. Never looking at her children.
A couple minutes later, the server came to take my order. As he left, I looked over at the table next to mine. The mom was still swiping her phone as she ate.
I felt bad for the kids who were enjoying a lunch out, but who seemed to have a mom more interested in her smartphone than enjoying time with her children.
I put my smartphone away as my salad and soup were served.
The Challange: Two Hours, No Screens
When I read my friend Joe Casabano’s tweet last week, about going two hours a day away from screens for 30 days, it reminded me of my lunch.
I'm going to spend 2 hours a day away from screens for the next 30 days. You should too! https://t.co/aHb1MVxYoD
— Joe Casabona 🎙 (@jcasabona) January 20, 2016
And I knew I wanted to join him.
We get wrapped up in being connected. We forget about everyday life around us.
Rather than enjoying our time with friends and family, we focus on email and chat apps, Facebook posts, and checking in on Swarm.
For me, it’s Twitter and catching the latest webinar.
I’ll get up in the morning, eat breakfast, and turn to Twitter to catch up on news.
Two hours later, and I wonder where the time went!
So, I’ve accepted Joe’s challenge.
For the past week, I’ve taken two, sometimes three, hours away from screens. Every day.
That means no smartphone, tablet, desktop, Chromebook, or TV.
I’m making a dent in the pile of books that have been falling over. I’m proud to say I finished one of the books I received last Christmas.
The house is looking a bit cleaner. And I’m enjoying walks through the neighborhood with my neighbor across the street.
Accept the Challenge
Won’t you join me? Can you go two hours a day for 30 days without looking at a screen?
How about taking two hours a day to read a good paperback or hardcover? Or take time to do housekeeping or organize your desk?
Two hours is enough time to meet up with a friend and take a stroll through a nearby park. Or simply enjoy a meal with your family or friends.
Thirty day challenges are my kind of challenge. Long enough to start a new behavior, but not too long that you begin resenting the challenge.
I hope you join me for Two Hours, Zero Screens!
And if you do join the challenge, let me know in the comments. And share how you’re enjoying your two hours away from screens.
Or give me a holler on Twitter at @redcrew.