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It's time to turn off the TV

Turn off technology week is April 22 - 27 this year.

Once again the School District of New Richmond is challenging students and staff to turn off all unnecessary technology and replace it with fun and fit activities.

This activity is modeled after National Turn Off the TV week and the California Department of Health Services "Do More, Watch Less" programs.

Instead of video games, computers and television, the School District suggests walking or running outdoors, a game of basketball or perhaps even a bike ride.

The idea, according to New Richmond School District nurse Joan Simpson, is to get up and get moving instead of relying on technology to entertain.

Doctors and child development experts believe that TV, computers and video games may contribute to youth obesity because:

• time youth spend in front of the screen takes away from time they could be physically active.

• food advertisements youth are exposed to on TV influences them to make unhealthy food choices.

• young people snack excessively while in front of the screen and eat less healthy meals when eating in front of the TV.

Prior to "Turn off Technology" week, students in New Richmond will be asked to track three days (two week days and one weekend day) to record their time in front of any screen.

Then, those voluntarily accepting the challenge to "turn it off" will be asked to give up all screen-based activities (excluding homework) for the week of April 21-27 and instead engage in screen-free activities.

Those students completing the challenge will have forms signed by parents or guardians to be entered into a drawing for numerous prizes provided through a grant from the St. Croix Public Health Department.