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Millions of people expected to disconnect from their gadgets for 1 hour on Nov 20: ParentCircle

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India’s leading parenting platform ParentCircle will launch the fourth edition of the #GadgetFreeHour on the occasion of the World Children’s Day on November 20 from 7.30 p.m to 8.30 p.m. during which a huge number of people will disconnect all their electronic gadgets to spend quality time with their families.

Initiated by ParentCircle in 2019, the #GadgetFreeHour campaign has been a resounding success with millions of people switching off electronic gadgets and spending the hour or even more with children and family members without the usual interruptions from mobile phones or television.

The first edition was launched on Children’s Day on November 14, 2019. This year the #GadgetFreeHour is being organised on November 20 to coincide with the World’s Children Day.

ParentCircle has urged everyone to step back and reconnect with their families by participating in the #GadgetFreeHour social initiative on November 20 (World Children’s Day), 2022, between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

In this one hour, families will disconnect from their gadgets and spend time with their children — playing, talking, eating, laughing together, rediscovering the joy of each other’s company in a fun way.

Playing together and spending time with each other create powerful memories, and even help children and adults pick up essential life skills. This year, all our exciting activities and contests for families were focused on enhancing family bonding and encouraging families to spend time on activities without any gadgets.

ParentCircle wants everyone to seriously think over “What will happen if families don’t connect face-to-face, ifthey don’t spend uninterrupted time together, talking to each other and sharing experiences? Gadgets will begin to replace family!”

That is why it is imperative that families regularly disconnect from their gadgets and reconnect with each other, it said.

The campaign has already started attracting a lot of traction on social media and it is expected that a large number of people will participate in the initiative to cement their bonds with family members.

Like the previous years, millions are expected to remain away from electronic gadgets on the evening of November 20.

The Puducherry Government has also joined hands in this initiative and is keen on spreading the go-gadget-free message across all schools in the Union Territory.

Elaborating on the idea behind the GadgetFreeHour, ParentCircle said positive relationships with their close ones help children feel secure and loved. Building relationships requires spending quality time with our children, engaging in play and meaningful communication with them, without the interruptions of gadgets such as mobile phones and TV.

“It’s time we think about how to build family relationships, find tech-life balance, follow healthy digital practices, and make gadget-free connection time a regular part of every family’s routine,” it said.

Nalina Ramalakshmi, Founder and Managing Director, ParentCircle, said the key to successful parenting is building a trusting relationship with your children.

“For this to happen, parents must make the time to spend with their children — listening to them, chatting with them, or just playing and having fun, and creating fond memories.

“During these special moments, the focus must be on connecting with children without other distractions, such as smartphones. This is the 4th year of our #GadgetFreeHour campaign, and we hope that through this campaign we motivate families to spend gadget-free time together on a regular basis, and not just once a year,” Ramalakshmi added.

#GadgetFreeHour: Here’s what experts say…

The #GadgetFreeHour initiative has garnered a lot of celebrity support, with actors, musicians, doctors, authors, corporate leaders, and experts in the field of child education coming forward to talk about how gadget-free time can enhance the parent-child bond. Here’s what they are saying:

“#GadgetFreeHour is a unique initiative by ParentCircle and Chellamey magazines founded by Nalina Ramalakshmi. The widespread and rampant usage of smartphones, iPads, iPods, gaming gadgets, etc., by children has diverted their focus and attention from studies and extracurricular activities. They have become addicted to gadgets, ignoring family activities. As a result, family bonds have broken, especially with both the parents going to work in many families. It has become necessary for parents and children to devote an hour to family every day without the use of gadgets, including TV. This is the vision of the gadget-free initiative. I wish #GadgetFreeHour 2022 tremendous success!”

AV Dharmakrishnan, CEO, The Ramco Cements Limited, “Technology has improved our lives and our living standards. It has brought us closer in many aspects. We can, in an instant, talk to family, friends and even groups across the globe. Ironically it has also created a lot of distance between us in personal terms. When we are together physically, we interact less because we have gadgets that distract us. Person to person interaction enables a direct connection with each other at an emotional level. This emotional connection is very important to nurture at early stages of childhood to create strong bonds as a family. Children long for personal time with their parents and caregivers. On November 20th, please put aside all electronic gadgets for an hour – #GadgetFreeHour – and experience for yourselves the joys of distraction free human interaction. Let’s all try to make #GadgetFreeHour more frequent in the coming days.”

NRK Ramkumar Raja, Managing Director, Ramaraju Surgical Cotton Mills Ltd, “Having this campaign and having a collective understanding and a collective tech-free charter or contract where everybody is spending gadget-free time are brilliant, because this initiative shows people the importance of spending time with their families.”

#GadgetFreeHour will also help create new habits. The quality of conversations, connections and relationships and being present are so important.”

Dr Jenny Woo, Founder/CEO, Mind Brain Emotion and TEDx Speaker, “In today’s scenario, we cannot tell our kids ‘Don’t use gadgets!’ For instance, my daughter is studying in UKG.During the pandemic, gadgets were used for educational purposes. So, she is familiar with gadgets.

Now, we need to control the usage. I always insist that my child use YouTube only when accompanied by the parents. YouTube Kids is safe for children. Using parental locks on our gadgets will also be helpful.

If you say ‘Don’t do something,’ children will do that only. In lieu of that, you can say what they can do. Research shows excessive use of gadgets can affect kids’ brain development and creativity. Family time is affected because of these gadgets. Everybody in the family should have half an hour of gadget-free time. You can use that time to spend quality time with your family.

ParentCircle is conducting its #GadgetFreeHour campaign on November 20 (World Children’s Day), 2022. Let’s disconnect from gadgets between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to reconnect with our families. You can take this pledge and spend time talking with each other and having a fun time with your family. Enjoy family time and the happiness that it brings!

I have taken the #GadgetFreeHour pledge. I request you to participate in the campaign too.”

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