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 Est. 1998

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Quotations for Screen-Free Week

Welcome to the internet's first page of quotations dedicated to TV Turnoff Week. It's too bad we don't have more than one week per year to remind ourselves to play outdoors, read a good book, or talk with our families. Digital Detox Week — newly renamed Screen-Free Week — in early May is a great opportunity to recharge our own batteries and get a rebalanced perspective. Even better, simply take your own breaks from technology and digital entertainment throughout the year: low-tech vacations, phone-free weekends, fresh-air therapy, etc. If you haven't yet, unplug and try it out! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g

Screen-Free Week is an annual invitation to play, explore, and rediscover the joys of life beyond ad-supported screens. During the first week of May, thousands of families, schools, and communities around the world will put down their entertainment screens for seven days of fun, connection, and discovery. ~Fairplay,

Technology — "the knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it." ~Max Frisch, c.1959, unverified

Some days, we just need to turn the quiet up.  ~Dr. SunWolf, @WordWhispers, tweet, 2011,

...any notion of the serious life of leisure, as well as men's taste and capacity to live it, had disappeared. Leisure became entertainment. ~Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind

The only social networking I did this weekend was with my family. I actually let the battery on my laptop completely die. ~Betsy Cañas Garmon, @wildthyme, tweet, 2009,

Deny yourself the connection to the wild places that your soul craves and the fire inside you will slowly turn to ash. ~Creek Stewart, 2017

You’re invited to Screen-Free Saturdays: one day of the week, every week to turn off our devices in favor of connection, exploration, and play... ~Fairplay,

It is a happy talent to know how to play. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1835

I like my new telephone, my computer works just fine, my calculator is perfect, but Lord, I miss my mind! ~Author unknown

unplug iPod
music stops abruptly
cricket song instead
~Dr. SunWolf, @WabiSabiWhisper, tweet, 2009,

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man not watch TV. ~Student at Brookside School, Long Island, 1966, completing the first part of the proverb as given by Candid Camera, CBS

The oldest books are still only just out to those who have not read them. ~Samuel Butler

What we all need is enough vacation every day so that we can face each morning with health sufficient to do our work in gladness. That is to say, we need enough of a play-spell every day to keep us in good physical condition. ~Elbert Hubbard

Everybody in society these days just walks around with their heads down, staring at their phones. Chiropractors must be making a fortune! ~Keith Wynn, @ravens_rhapsody, tweet, 2017

We all need empty hours in our lives or we will have no time to create or dream. ~Alvin Rosenfeld, M.D., and Nicole Wise, Hyper-Parenting: Are You Hurting Your Child by Trying Too Hard?, 2000

I am Summer, come to lure you away from your computer... come dance on my fresh grass, dig your toes into my beaches. ~Oriana Green, @NatureSpirits, tweet, 2009

I saw a news report recently that measured average video game use by American men between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-five: twenty hours per week. Do you mean the flower of America's masculinity can't think of anything more important to do with twenty hours a week than sit in front of a video screen? Folks, this ain't normal. Can't we unplug already? ~Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World, 2011

T.V. is changing the American child from an irresistible force to an immovable object. ~Author unknown, as quoted by Dick Morrow, 1959

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise...
~A. A. Milne, "Teddy Bear," When We Were Very Young, 1924

Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done. ~Andy Rooney

Life moves pretty fast — you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. ~John Hughes, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 1986

      "Life" today, for most of us, most of the time, is a mediated existence. Our experiences are vicarious, or virtual. Most of what we know comes from media, not personal experience...
      Think about it. How many waking hours did you spend yesterday totally isolated from all media? That means no TV, radio, music CDs or tapes, computer screens, print, or advertising signs. Were there any? If you fall asleep listening to the radio or TV, the media invade even more than your waking hours. ~Nicholas Johnson, "Media Literacy," 1997

A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White, M.D., unverified

I've been scanning some negatives from the 80's. It's like a retro #Instagram. ~Andy Lee, @andrewdotlee, tweet, 2012

Anyone remember analogue Twitter? It used to cost me a small fortune in stamps. ~Andy Lee, @andrewdotlee, tweet, 2012

I have seen some good things on TV, but watching it now and then is not the same thing as the indiscriminate gluing of the eye to the screen that some people do all day, all night, using up time that goes by and will never come again... I think such addiction to the screen is a crime against life itself... ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, "The spice of life," A View from the Hill, 1957

Kids don't remember their best day of television. ~Author unknown

Turn off the TV and read to the kids for two hours one night. I'll bet they'll want more and you might turn it into a couple nights a week. You might actually be more lovable than when you're harried and hurried, bustling them off to some extraneous entertainment event. And reading together doesn't take any energy. ~Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World, 2011

"Lord!" he said, "when you sell a man a book you don't sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue — you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night — there's all heaven and earth in a book, a real book I mean..." ~Christopher Morley, Parnassus on Wheels, 1917

The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set —
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all...
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out...
~Roald Dahl, "Mike Teavee is Sent by Television," Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 1964

On cable TV, they have a weather channel — 24 hours of weather. We had something like that where I grew up. We called it a window. ~Dan Spencer

I had a life once. Now I have a computer. ~Author unknown

A journey of a thousand sites begins with a single click. ~Author unknown

We listen too much to the telephone and we listen too little to nature. The wind is one of my sounds. A lonely sound, perhaps, but soothing. Everybody should have his personal sounds to listen for — sounds that will make him exhilarated and alive, or quiet and calm... As a matter of fact, one of the greatest sounds of them all — and to me it is a sound — is utter, complete silence. ~André Kostelanetz, 1955, unverified

Make time for quiet moments, as God whispers and the world is loud. ~Author unknown

We ought to take outdoor walks, to refresh and raise our spirits by deep breathing in the open air. ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca, "On Tranquillity of Mind"

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~Khalil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923

One of the joys of reading is the ability to plug into the shared wisdom of mankind. ~Ishmael Reed, Writin' is Fightin': Thirty-Seven Years of Boxing on Paper, 1988

Media is much more than just television, but TV's influence is disproportionate. All television is "educational television." The only question is, "What is it teaching?" ~Nicholas Johnson, "Media Literacy," 1997

I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go into the library and read a good book. ~Groucho Marx, 1950  []

I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~John Muir (1838–1914)

What used the darling ones to do?...
Before this monster was invented?...
THEY … USED … TO … READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed TO READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
~Roald Dahl, "Mike Teavee is Sent by Television," Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 1964

You know how men become bone lazy for want of bodily exercise. ~Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)

I believe most distempers proceed from too much sitting still. ~Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, letter to her daughter Françoise-Marguerite de Sévigné, 1671 August 26th

Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs, unverified

Each day, the American housewife turns toward television as toward a lover. She feels guilty about it, and well she might, for he's covered with warts and is only after her money. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966, © Thomas Paine McLaughlin

Fresh air impoverishes the doctor. ~Danish proverb

If it weren't for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn't get any exercise at all. ~Joey Adams, as quoted in The Reader's Digest, 1991

Sitting is the new smoking. ~Health catchphrase, c.2009

Sitting kills, moving heals. ~Joan Vernikos, c.2011

Every time you think television has hit its lowest ebb, a new type program comes along to make you wonder where you thought the ebb was.  ~Art Buchwald, "Adding Insult to Injury," Have I Ever Lied to You?, 1966

The best six doctors anywhere—
      And no one can deny it—
Are Sunshine, Water, Rest and Air,
      Exercise and Diet.
These six will gladly you attend,
      If only you are willing,
      Your mind they'll cheer,
      Your ills they'll mend,
And charge you not one shilling.
~"Doctors Six," c. 1921

But lo! men have become the tools of their tools. ~Henry David Thoreau

Start a domestic hobby: woodworking, candle making, quilting, knitting, carving, repairing anything (furniture, appliances, electronics). These are the skills and crafts that have undergirded civilizations for centuries. ~Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World, 2011

Cell phone: a private convenience that has become a public nuisance. ~Richard E. Turner (1937–2011), The Grammar Curmudgeon, a.k.a. "The Mudge," "Cell Phone-itis and Other Technological Diseases," 2004,

...reading books is the most glorious pastime that humankind has yet devised. ~Wisława Szymborska (1923–2012), Nonrequired Reading: Prose Pieces, "From the Author," translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh, 2002

If we make time for play, it can change our lives and it costs nothing. ~Leo Buscaglia, Bus 9 to Paradise: A Loving Voyage, 1986

Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book. ~Author unknown

Wow, look at the grass stains on my skin. I say, if your knees aren't green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life. ~Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes, 1992

I have two doctors, my left leg and my right. When body and mind are out of gear (and those twin parts of me live at such close quarters that the one always catches melancholy from the other) I know that I have only to call in my doctors and I shall be well again. ~George Macaulay Trevelyan (1876–1962), "Walking," Clio, A Muse, and Other Essays Literary and Pedestrian, 1913

Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race... ~H. G. Wells

Never trust anyone whose television is larger than their bookshelf. ~Author unknown

A picture's worth a thousand words? A library card's worth millions. ~Roy Blount Jr., as quoted by The New York Public Library, 2012

Some things can only be understood when you're in a tree house. With a pile of warm chocolate chip cookies. And a book. ~Dr. SunWolf, @WordWhispers, tweet, 2010,

The problem with putting off things you've always wanted to do is that eventually you run out of always. ~Robert Brault,

A little fresh air would be good for you just now. The weather is lovely; and a little stroll in the park will bring the colour back to your cheeks. ~J. Palgrave Simpson, For Ever and Never, 1884

The human need to play is a powerful one. ~Leo Buscaglia, Bus 9 to Paradise: A Loving Voyage, 1986

Play is when we are alive all over. We play best out-of-doors. We come out of the house on a bright sunshiny morning, and see the sparkle in the air and feel the cool fresh breeze on our faces; we hear the rustle of the tree-tops and look up to see the little white clouds floating across the bright blue sky; and we feel like running and jumping and skipping and shouting out loud, just because we are so full of life. As we say, "We feel just bubbling over," for the great outdoors has got into our blood. ~Woods Hutchinson, M.D., "The Importance of Play," Building Strong Bodies, 1924

So long as there's a jingle in your head, television isn't free. ~Jason Love,

The same media people that claim violence on TV doesn't influence people, are perfectly willing to sell you advertising time. ~Author unknown

When television came roaring in after the war they did a little school survey asking children which they preferred and why — television or radio. And there was this seven-year-old boy who said he preferred radio "because the pictures were better." ~Alistair Cooke, unverified

But in every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks. ~John Muir, July 1877

Parents have to realize that there is a stranger in your house. If you came home and you found a strange man… teaching your kids to punch each other, or trying to sell them all kinds of products, you'd kick him right out of the house. But here you are — you come in and the TV is on, and you don't think twice about it. ~Jerome Singer

Advertisements are now so numerous that they are very negligently perused, and it is therefore become necessary to gain attention by magnificence of promises, and by eloquence sometimes sublime and sometimes pathetic. ~Samuel Johnson, 1759

In general, they refused to eat anything that hadn't danced on TV. ~Erma Bombeck

By means of the magnetic telegraph the people of our country are holding a continuous mass-meeting. ~Wendell Phillips, as quoted by Edward Parsons Day, 1883

I hate computers for replacing the card catalog in the New York Public Library. ~David Sedaris, "," Me Talk Pretty One Day, 2000,

People read every thing nowadays, except books. ~Madame Swetchine (1782–1857), translated by Harriet W. Preston, 1869

On even the most stressful days, magic is still sitting quietly in the corner, waiting to be noticed. ~Dr. SunWolf, @wordwhispers, tweet, 2015,

...the strongest friends of the soul – BOOKS... ~Emily Dickinson

Happiness is having your own library card! ~Charles Schulz, Peanuts, 1963 [Sally –tg]

We need rests called naps
      And rests called play,
We need little moving rests
      Called getting away.
~Terri Guillemets

...the open air is the only place for real fun. ~Woods Hutchinson, M.D., "The Importance of Play," Building Strong Bodies, 1924

It's so strange to think that before Facebook all this nonsense just stayed in people's heads. ~Internet meme

You look beautiful today. Is that a new Instagram filter you're wearing? ~Internet meme

With innovation and technology, seems we have forgotten to cherish the true beauty the world has to offer. ~A.C. Van Cherub, 2008

Always jump in the puddles! Always skip alongside the flowers. Never turn down a good pillow fight. ~Terri Guillemets

By too much sitting still the body becomes unhealthy; and soon the mind. This is nature's law. She will never see her children wronged. If the mind, which rules the body, ever forgets itself so far as to trample upon its slave, the slave is never generous enough to forgive the injury; but will rise and smite its oppressor. Thus has many a monarch mind been dethroned. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The man who does not relax and hoot a few hoots voluntarily, now and then, is in great danger of hooting hoots and standing on his head for the edification of the pathologist and trained nurse, a little later on. ~Elbert Hubbard, "Richard Wagner," Little Journeys to Homes of Great Musicians, 1901

I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least — and it is commonly more than that — sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements. ~Henry David Thoreau, "Walking"

What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for Beauty, and never see the Dawn! ~Logan Pearsall Smith

If you are losing your leisure, look out, you may be losing your soul. ~Logan Pearsall Smith

You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day, unless you are too busy — then you should sit for an hour. ~Author unknown

All the uglinesses of the world can best be forgotten in the beauty of nature! ~Mehmet Murat ildan

To smell a turf of fresh earth is wholesome for the body... ~Thomas Fuller

Have some idea of what you intend to do and be, and go on. ~Charles F. Raymond, "This Banner Year," Just Be Glad, 1907

The surest cure for loneliness, the quickest way to happiness, is found in this, a simple creed: Go serve someone in greater need. ~William Arthur Ward (1921–1994)

Life is never so busy that there is no time to serve. ~Author unknown

I cannot begin to tell you what the love of reading will do for your children. It will open doors of curiosity. It will titillate their desire to see places they thought were make-believe. It softens loneliness, fills the gaps of boredom, creates role models and changes the course of their very lives. ~Erma Bombeck & Billings S. Fuess, Jr., "How to encourage your child to read," 1984, from Power of the Printed Word advertising campaign by Ogilvy & Mather for International Paper Company,,,

Having fun isn't hard
When you've got a library card.
~Joe Fallon & Ken Scarborough, "Library Card," Marc Brown's Arthur, "Arthur's Almost Live Not Real Music Festival," 1998 [S3, E11B]

There are no sounds that can stir the sublime emotions of men's souls like the sighs and whispers of nature. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

A very strange and solemn feeling came over me as I stood there, with no sound but the rustle of the pines, no one near me, and the sun so glorious, as for me alone. It seemed as if I felt God as I never did before, and I prayed in my heart that I might keep that happy sense of nearness all my life. ~Louisa May Alcott, 1845

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time. ~John Lubbock, “Recreation,” The Use of Life, 1894

It is a long way back, a long way back, to simplicity, back to the vision with the sun shining upon it, back to my simple soul. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of Longing," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923

Enjoy simple things with total intensity.
Just a cup of tea can be a deep meditation.

Be happy while you're living, for you're a long time dead. ~Scottish proverb

That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest. ~Henry David Thoreau

The waste of life occasioned by trying to do too many things at once is appalling. No one is large enough to be split up into many parts; and the sooner a man can stamp this truth upon his mind, the better his chances for being a profitable member of society. ~Orison Swett Marden

The time you think you're missing misses you too. ~Terri Guillemets

We live longer than our forefathers, but we suffer more from a thousand artificial anxieties and cares. They fatigued only the muscles; we exhaust the finer strength of the nerves; and, when we send impatiently to the doctor, it is ten to one but what he finds the acute complaint, which is all that we perceive, connected with some chronic mental irritation, or some unwholesome inveteracy of habit. ~Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, 1854

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published 2002 Oct 19
revised 2008, 2010, 2014, 2021
last saved 2023 Jan 7