By Abby Boak
When was the last time you didn’t look at a screen ALL day, for like, 24 hours? Unless you live in the arse end of nowhere, or are practising to be ordained as a Buddhist monk, it’s likely you can’t remember a day in recent history in which you haven’t watched a TV, used your phone, or been at a computer. And certainly for those under 20, it’s highly likely that there may not have EVER been a day when you haven’t.
Technology is amazing. I seriously mean that I find it utterly, mind-bogglingly amazing and, to be frank, I’m often completely baffled and humbled by what it can achieve. But without humans, none of it, not even the wheel, would have a purpose. Sometimes though, it does become a burden – how often do you find yourself just checking work emails, spying on people over social media, getting just the right angle for that photo. It’s good to remind yourself sometimes that actually, it doesn’t own us – we own it.
My son and I have ‘No Screen Days’. The first one was a bit of a disaster with him totally flipping out and me at the end of my tether trying to entertain him, but now we completely relish those days. So if you fancy trying this new experience, either as an adult with child(ren) or on your own, here are my top tips.
1. PHONE OFF
Off, or even better: left at home, in a drawer, and off. These days finding a public phone that works and doesn’t cost Barry White’s weight in gold equates to finding the Holy Grail. However, Liverpool is such an ace city you’d be hard pushed to find a landlord/lady who wouldn’t let you use theirs. In the days before mobile phones, emergencies were dealt with by those who were there at the time – as is the case now!
Liverpool is SUCH an amazing city to walk around. Get off one stop before where you need to be, or park nearby, and then divert, go off-piste, get lost and ask people the way. Great exercise, fresh air – just invest in wellies, a waterproof, and a backpack.
Before screens was the radio. And Oh My WORD does the radio have a lot to offer – music, dramas, documentaries, interviews, sport, news. Best thing is, you can do something else at the same time! Top tip: check out the student radio stations (we do have amazing universities here too).
I could say cooking or baking here, but there are a few specific reasons for pasta. Making pasta is a long-winded process when you’re a novice so takes up a good chunk of your day; EVERYONE loves a gadget, and a pasta machine is SOOO exciting; you don’t have to be a cordon bleu chef – it’s pretty simple to get it right; and finally, you get to eat it. Amazing home-made pasta. NOM. Best place to get inspired for sauces: Delifonseca.
Pens, pencils, note pads, paper. The list is not excessive, and therefore not expensive either. Draw, write, doodle, fold, cut, rip. We all did it without fear when we were kids, and we should continue into our adult lives. Best game for parents: Exquisite Corpse. Best suppliers: Rennie’s Arts & Crafts on Bold Street.
6. READ (OUT LOUD)
a) I’m not a big reader, and my son has quite severe dyslexia so is unable to read for himself the kind of books he’d like to. So I read aloud to him. Reading aloud slows us down, makes us understand the story more, gives us time to process what is happening and imagine what might come next.
b) Liverpool has libraries throughout the city, so sign up. I could EASILY spend half a day looking for the right book to take home. Note to check opening times!
We have lots of amazing pools throughout the city, and if you’re under 17 any Lifestyles pools are free with your (also free) Futures membership card.
We are spoilt in Liverpool for amazing galleries: the Tate, the Walker, the Bluecoat, the Open Eye to mention just the big punters, and there are literally hundreds of other exhibitions on show throughout the city in cafés, bars, and studios. If you go with kids, just let them look at their own pace and buy a catalogue so you can research at home (on a non no-screens day of course!)
And when you log back in the next day, you’ll see that really, there’s nothing much you’ve missed; food porn, funny cats, or a party you’d rather not have been at anyway, and maybe one chore on your to-do list that has happened in the interim!