The Day the Screens Went Blank by Danny Wallace

Stella and her family are entirely reliant on screens…clocks, phones, microwaves, Sat Nav’s, card machines….and come to think of it, so are we all.

In this book, we follow a family addicted to screens as they go on a rescue mission to see their grandma when all technology ceases to work. How will they find their way across the country, buy food and petrol, get in contact with anyone- basically survive without screens?

Stella quickly learns to adapt without screens and sees the pleasures to be had and enjoyed- collecting eggs, looking out the window, helping others. The parents take longer to come round, but Dad’s shoulders soon unclench and Mum changes a tire. There is more laughter, a lightness around them and a realisation that the good things in life can be found off technology.

For example, have you ever lived if you have never played “Ding Dong Ditch”, or watched home movies via projector? The family soon shed their tech obsessed lives and learn to live in the moment and make memories! I love the messages this book conveys in its humorous take on what would happen if our screens turned off!

As a parent of a 9yo and 12yo, I am fully aware of screen time, both for the kids and myself. We limit where we can and encourage time away from screens but the inevitable pull to check something, answer a text or lose myself for ages on Twitter is still there.

This book, though funny and completely relevant, will highlight the reliance we have on screens and the quandary about what would happen if our screens went blank. To be honest, I am rather surprised it took so long for this book to come out. Perhaps reading this will encourage more families to turn the tech off and learn skills to see them through the tech free times.

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