Families being asked to connect by disconnecting

By Stephen Dafoe

video gamesMorinville – Residents are being asked to use this Family Day to disconnect from technology and connect with themselves, their families and their communities. Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) departments throughout the province are promoting the Family Day Unplugged challenge, and Morinville is offering a number of prizes to those who log their hours doing something outside the digital realm. Of course the use of pen and paper will be required to log those hours.

Morinville’s FCSS Coordinator Karin Debenham is coordinating the event locally and would like to see families take a day to connect and bond. “In our home I talk about boxes and how boxes interfere with our ability to share and to listen, and our ability to interact and to build relationships,” she said, adding those boxes can be anything from a movie theatre to an iPhone or iPad. “They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes now. It isn’t only the kids that are connected to their boxes all the time. It’s also the parents. They [the boxes] interfere with all that relationship building that can happen if you let go of them.”

It is a legitimate concern to Debenhem and other FCSS workers in the province. She offers some statistics provided through the program to illustrate the importance of a little face time. According to that information, 73 per cent of children would rather play with their parents than watch TV or use the Internet. Additionally, high school students who eat more than three family dinners per week are more likely to get better grades.

Prizes to be won

Families who unplug will have the opportunity for at least one family dinner together as well as a couple other prizes. Prizes include a family dinner at Don’s Bistro, a family photo portrait sitting, and a free family pass to any one of the upcoming performances at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. The draw will take place Feb. 20.

Debenhem said entry forms would be available in this week’s local papers. All families need do is fill out the form with details on how they plan to unplug on Family Day, logging the non-digital activities they are involved in. That form is then dropped off at the Ray McDonald Sports Centre, Community Cultural Centre or Morinville Community Library by Feb. 20 for an opportunity to win one for prizes.

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