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Editor’s Letter: A Digital Detox Take a break from the screens and find time to reconnect as a family

Take a digital detox during the virtual school year
Courtesy of PJ Feinstein

“Can I have electronics now?”

That’s the question my two sons have asked every day, multiple times a day, since the pandemic started. (In our house, “electronics” is a catch-all word for anything with a screen.) More often than not, the answer has been “yes,” especially when my husband and I are busy working from home.


But for nearly 72 blissful hours in August, my kids didn’t ask for electronics. They didn’t whine about screen time. They didn’t beg to play Minecraft or Roblox with friends or to watch another cartoon on their tablets.

Instead, they read books, played card games and tied knots in lanyard (or “gimp”) during their downtime. Because that’s what you do at camp—and that’s where we were. Specifically, we were at Capital Camps, unplugging as a family and experiencing the healing qualities of nature for a few days. Even I was able to disconnect, leaving my phone in our cabin as we went boating, tie dyed T-shirts and impersonated Hawkeye at archery.

Perhaps the best thing about our time at camp, however, was that it proved to me that my kids aren’t addicted to their electronics (as I was beginning to fear). They can survive just fine without them—and so can I.

Washington Family September 2020 issueMy kids—and yours too, most likely—are about to beginning a new school year of distance learning. In our September 2020 digital issue, we wanted to explore ways to make virtual school a success, from supporting children with specials needs to setting up a learning space in your home.

After my family’s experience at camp, I have one more tip to add: Whether it’s every evening or weekends only, find time for your family to disconnect from electronics and connect with each other. Schedule a digital detox. You can all use the break from screens, trust me.

Good luck this semester!


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About PJ Feinstein

PJ Feinstein is the managing editor of Washington FAMILY. When she's not reporting, writing or editing, she's schlepping her two sons to their after-school activities or walking the family dog around the neighborhood. Despite being chronically sleep-deprived, she can't stop binge-watching TV and scrolling through her social media feeds late at night.

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