Students let Facebook, TVs go dark for 10 days

Students at Dwyer Middle School are testing their will power. They have shut television, video games and social media out of their lives.

But only for 10 days.

"Our goal is we want them to learn how to manage their time appropriately," said Assistant Principal Michelle Buckman.

School Resource Officer Derek Young brought the challenge to the administration after reading that students who completed the challenge saw higher test scores and less bullying, Buckman said.

The idea is to help students, who are still developing their habits, to learn to control their appetite for the 21st century's technology and lifestyle.

"If the parents knew how much time we administrators spend on dealing with Facebook threats, with girls teasing each other and boys challenging one another, they would be amazed because they are still learning how to use social media," Buckman said.

Although at first some said they couldn't do it, they later joined the almost 400 students, family members, teachers and administrators at Dwyer.

Sydney Peters, 14, said she couldn't really see herself not watching TV for 10 days but later decided to take the challenge.

"I wanted to get outside more," she said.

Now Sydney, who already plays sports, is running and working out more.

Four students from the National Junior Honor Society helped organize the challenge, which is from April 27 to Friday. They handed out papers with pictures of activities students can participate in each day during the challenge. Some of the activities were reading the newspaper, hiking, flying a kite, reading a book, cooking and dancing.

Maddison Hokans-Csurilla, 14, who helped organize the challenge and is giving up watching "Jeopardy," said she wants students to realize how much they don't need TV in their lives.

"They'll find they have a lot more time to enjoy life when TV and social media is out of it," said student Varsha Midha, 14, who also helped organize the challenge.

The challenge also coincided with the state testing. The goal is to get students to study more, Buckman said.

The challenge completion party, where prizes will be raffled off, is scheduled for May 16.

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