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10th Aug 2015

#ChildhoodUnplugged craze will inspire you to ditch digital (ironically enough!)

Sophie White

The blog Childhood Unplugged, now run by a group of 10 parents from America and Finland, was founded three years ago by Florida mum-of-three, Monica Calderin. After a photography assignment challenged her to take time off from her phone she was inspired and decided to experiment and take her whole family offline.

Writing in an article for The Define School, she described the process:

“I remember that afternoon like it was yesterday,” she wrote. “I deleted the Facebook and Instagram apps from my iPhone, turned off all my notifications for messages and emails, and kept the ringer on silent.”

Describing a day at the beach app-free as an “eye opening experience”, Calderin says, “taking in the noise of the ocean waves and breathing in the salt air, I started to feel my shoulders relax.”

“A few days later… to say I had a lightbulb parenting moment is an understatement.

“My oldest and youngest were living the very same bad habits that I had been. Gadgets in hand and way too much screen time. It hit me, ‘these boys need to unplug!’

“My middle son was the exception, because well, he’s the epitome of a child unplugged. You see, Matt has autism.”

“He has never watched cartoons on TV or played a video game in his life. He can stay outside for hours at a time swinging and jumping on the trampoline and oh yes, pulling the leaves off the mango trees and ripping them into little tiny pieces.”

She told her family that from now on they would spend less time engaged online and more time interacting with each other and the natural world. She asked other parents and photographers to join also and Childhood Unplugged was the result.

The website’s Instagram account now has more than 38,000 followers.

There is of course an inherent irony in an Instagram account promoting digital detox, but only the most cynical heart could fail to be delighted by these images. Childhood Unplugged doesn’t call for parents and children to never engage online, to do so would be wildly impractical we live in the world we live in. However it does call for us to live in the moment and reminds us to experience life as well as filtering, tagging and posting it.

Maybe not all of us need this reminder – and well done to those who don’t – but tonight I will be keeping the phone in my bag and my son in my arms because life goes too fast.

Here are some of the inspiring #ChildhoodUnplugged images:

golden moment by @tillyroseandi | feat. by @jesse_burke | #childhoodunplugged #cu_naturebuddy

A photo posted by @childhoodunplugged on

Got some inspiring #ChildhoodUnplugged snaps to share with our readers? Send them to [email protected]