Today is the first day of Screen-Free Week. If you're reading this, chances are, you've chosen not to participate (or are just cramming all your screen time into your work hours. Don't worry, we won't tell your boss.). As Babble reports, Screen-Free week is a challenge put on by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. Preschoolers spend an average of 32 hours a week in front of the many screens in our digital lives. Older kids log in even more hours. Would a week without Words With Friends and Mad Men be pure torture or well-worth the price of a Dora-free week?
Victim slaps her cyberbullies -- with a lawsuit
We hope the kids in this next story are participating in Screen-Free Week. It sounds like they could all use a break from Facebook. As we reported at TODAY Tech, a 14-year-old girl is slapping her cyberbullies with a libel suit. Alex Boston couldn't figure out why she was getting dirty looks at school, until she realized that two classmates had set up a fake Facebook page under her name. The fake "Alex" posted a racist video, talked about smoking pot, claimed to speak a made-up language called "retardish," and left rude comments for a lot of other kids at their school. This all happened about a year ago, and although her parents reported the page to Facebook, it wasn't taken down until recently, around the time the lawsuit was filed. Alex and her parents didn't head straight to court, instead they first reported the bullying to school officials and local police. But, because the bullying didn't happen at school, there was little anyone could do. Many experts say that current (and most proposed) cyberbullying laws aren't strong enough and that lawsuits like Alex's will become a lot more common in the future.
No, Nutella's not healthy. Sorry to ruin your day
It's litigious-Monday, folks. We're serving up two lawsuit stories for your reading pleasure. Nutella is sweet. The parents and consumers who are suing Nutella over false advertising claims are hoping that revenge is sweeter. The chocolate-hazelnut spread, which makes for a delightfully delicious crepe filling, has long been a popular breakfast treat. But, according to the Globe and Mail, a class action lawsuit has now been filed against the company for allegedly spreading the word that the tasty spread is actually good for you. In case you haven't heard, it's pretty high in calories. Apparently, it's even higher in calories and fat than cheap, chocolate frosting. Some argue that parents need to be responsible for what they feed their children and should be careful about reading labels. However, others point out that the lawsuit isn't about the product being fattening, it's about a company trying to claim its product is something it isn't.
Why have road rage when you can have Rhapsody?
Since you've turned the DVD player in your car off for Screen-Free Week, it's time to turn the radio on. Remember that old thing? Wondering what song you and your kids can all agree on? Might we suggest Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody? As MSNBC reported, one dad and his carpool crew have turned it into the coolest driving-to-school anthem ever. Dad, his two school-age daughters and his toddler son, rock out from the time they leave their driveway, until the time they pull up at school -- which, if timed right, is also the time that the song ends. Talk about starting your morning right. The dad says that the kids learned all of the words in just one week. Which means, by the time Screen-Free Week is over, your brood can also be proficient in 70's rock lyrics. What song would you choose to rock out to on your daily commute with your kids?
Male field hockey player is good. Too good
A lot of people are crying foul after a 13-year-old boy was told he can no longer play for his high school's all-girls field hockey team. The reason? He's too good. As Yahoo! Sports reports, the teen managed to make his school's varsity team when he was only 11 years old. Raised in Ireland, where field hockey is also popular amongst boys, he brought his skills with him when he moved to New York. But, now he's been told that he can't play next season because he's too dominant of a player. School officials have said that he is "having a significant adverse effect on some of his opposing female players. The rules state he would be allowed to play if he wasn't the dominant player." Many say that while he's skilled, there isn't a physical reason he shouldn't be allowed to play with the girls. At just 4-foot-8 and 82 pounds, he's actually smaller than a lot of his female teammates and competitors. His parents are appealing the decision for the second time. Some have expressed concern that, if he isn't allowed to play, it will open the doors for more discrimination in sports.
Dana Macario is a TODAY Moms contributor and Seattle mom to two sleep-depriving toddlers. Once properly caffeinated, she also blogs at www.18years2life.com.