Introducing: the #unplugandplay Challenge

I recently arrived early to a meeting, so I grabbed a coffee and took a moment to people watch. Almost every person I “watched” was glued to their mobile device – hardly looking up at all.

I guess I shouldn’t have been shocked by my observation given that reports have found that the average American spends more than 10 hours a day staring at a screen. “Screen addiction” isn’t just affecting adults. According to Nancy Colier’s book “The Power of Off,” young adults are now sending an average of 110 texts per day. Yes, you read that correctly, 110 texts a day. I can definitely admit that I too am addicted to my phone!!

This digital addiction is a result of huge strides in the innovative of digital technology, particularly mobile. Yet, when it comes to human innovation, we as global community, are failing. Addictions are on the rise as are mental and physical health issues; many of which can be attritbuted to an increase in sedentary screen time.

How many times have you looked around at a restaurant and noticed that everyone is staring at their phone rather than converseing? Or parents, how often do you look in your rearview mirror to see your children heads-down in their devices rather than telling you about their day?

I admit that I love my phone and I rarely put it down but the one time of day I always #unplug is during my morning run. It’s no coincidence that my idea for the #unplugandplay challenge came during one of those runs. When we #unplug we observe the world around us and give our brain the space to be creative.

When we use our #unplugged time to be physically active we take it a step further and immediately set off neurogenesis and neurotransmitters (the natural chemicals in our brains that help with everything from depression to anxiety). If kids were to play the same number of minutes they spend on social media we would live in much happier and healthier communities.

Screen addiction is a problem for adults and children and it’s time we do something about it – which is why I’m challenging you to #unplugandplay.

What is #unplugandplay?

#unplugandplay or “Unplug and Play” is a BOKS initiative that challenges people of all ages to put down their devices for 60 minutes a day. (60 minutes is also the exact amount of time that the Center for Disease Control recommends children and adolescents be physically active per day). Participants in the challenge should use those 60 minutes to get out and do something for their well-being. Whether that be playing with their kids, taking a yoga class, going out to dinner or just meditating – the goal is the same – conduct your own digital detox.

I’m challenging my family and my team to dedicate the month of August to #unplugandplay and I’d like to extend this challenge to you and your friends in family.

How can you participate in #unplugandplay?

Should you choose to accept the challenge and #unplug we’d love it if you could inspire others by heading to social media to tag/challenge your friends and share your experience with us via the hashtag #unplugandplay. (Of course don’t worry about sharing anything until your 60 minute digital detox is complete).

Let’s #unplug together and create a movement that will better ourselves, our families and our communities.