published Monday, March 25th, 2013

Tennessee family bans electricity and shopping to spend more time together

Mary Campbell, 11, does her homework using a reading light as her mother, Jan Walker, eats dinner. The family has signed a contract to not use electricity on Tuesdays or electronics on Sundays.
Mary Campbell, 11, does her homework using a reading light as her mother, Jan Walker, eats dinner. The family has signed a contract to not use electricity on Tuesdays or electronics on Sundays.
Photo by The Tennessean /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Poll
Would you consider banning all electronics in your household one day a week?

Many parents have days when they wish they could have blocks of unplugged time with their teen and preteen children — blissful, uncompromised hours without the roar of the television, the pull of the iPad and iPhone, the temptation of Twitter, Facebook and the like.

In a digital-centric world, where teens are estimated to spend 81/2 to more than 13 hours a day plugged into something, there are increasing parental concerns that kids — and families — are missing out on other essential activities and relationships.

Parents Riley and Jan Walker decided to act on those concerns. The Walkers, who live in the Westhaven community in Franklin, are in the midst of their own “unplugged” experiment with their daughters, 11-year-old Mary Campbell and 13-year-old Rachel.

The whole family signed a contract that bans the use of electronics on Sundays, eliminates almost all electricity on Tuesdays, and restricts the “buying of new things” other than true essentials during the three-month contract period, which began in January.

Read more at The Tennessean.

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