Alberta Program Aims for Tech-Free ‘Family Day Unplugged’

The Family and Community Support Services Association of Alberta (FCSSAA) wants families to unplug from their devices today to focus on…their families.

Family Day is a provincial holiday today in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island (PEI) and Saskatchewan, which takes place on the third Monday of February, coinciding with Presidents’ Day in the U.S.

In Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the holiday is called Louis Riel Day, Nova Scotia Heritage Day and Islander Day respectively. BC celebrates Family Day too, but on the second Monday of February.

The aim of the FCSSAA, which hosts numerous events throughout Alberta today using their banner, is to get families engaged and involved with each other, instead of being glued to smartphones and tablets.

Kim Williston, director of the FCSSAA branch in Beaumont, Alberta, told CBC News “We’re seeing that, in our communities, people are more disconnected,” adding “We’re seeing people are busy, they’re disconnected, they’re not interacting with their neighbours.”

National day of unplugging cell phone sleeping bag

Studies have shown spending too much time online can affect your personal relationships. A UCLA study recently revealed children who spend less time with technology can read human emotions better than those doing the opposite.

Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist, said when parents are texting while their children are trying to seek their attention, the little ones can get hurt or stressed.

“Children are feeling a lot of stress trying to get their parents to be with them, pay attention to them, answer their question,” explained Steiner-Adair, “Because, neurologically, when you are texting, your empathy goes down.”

Currently over 30 communities participate in FCSSAA Family Day activities in Alberta.

So, what do you think about staying ‘unplugged’ for Family Day and speaking with your loved ones? (I hope you’re not reading this article on your iPhone in front of your family).