#GadgetFreeHour: A Much-needed Social Awareness Campaign Is Here

The first-ever GadgetFreeHour initiative by ParentCircle is here. Be a part of this nation-wide campaign! It's our Children's Day special!

By Rajesh Viswanathan  • 13 min read

#GadgetFreeHour: A Much-needed Social Awareness Campaign Is Here

Nothing has reshaped our communication, our relationships, and our lives more than technology and devices in the 21st century. The number of smartphone users in India has shot up from 199 million in 2015 to 374 million this year and this number is likely to double further to 859 million in 2022. But, the flip side to this remarkable progress has been the impact on family relationships, particularly those between a parent and a child. We all live in a connected world, yet we are a disconnected lot.

It is never too late to pause, reflect and start over again. How can one ‘re-establish’ the connection with the family by balancing screen time and family time? That was the very thought during a routine content meeting at ParentCircle which paved the way for what promises to be a revolution of sorts – #GadgetFreeHour.

Born to celebrate the beautiful natural bond between parents and children, #GadgetFreeHour will be celebrated for an hour on Nov 14 (Children’s Day), 2019 between 7.30 pm and 8.30 pm.

Nalina Ramalakshmi, Founder and Managing Director, ParentCircle, says, “I am very excited to note the heightened interest and participation for the #GadgetFreeHour. It is extremely important that we realise ‘real connections’ need a reboot in today’s gadget-driven world. To build a strong connection, parents need to spend time with their children on a regular basis, even if it is for a few minutes every day, free from the distraction of gadgets and other work. This #GadgetFreeHour campaign is a social awareness campaign for change. We hope this will motivate parents to make gadget-free time a part of their daily or weekly routine and experience the joy of connection.”

The campaign is already going VIRAL. 58000+ schools, a host of corporate giants, endorsements by popular celebrities, achievers and bestselling authors, support by the biggest hotel brands including Hyatt and Hilton and yes, close to a MILLION parents are eager to be a part of the maiden Children’s Day special initiative of ParentCircle. #GadgetFreeHour is not just an event, it is the beginning of a movement.

Born to celebrate the beautiful natural bond between parents and children, #GadgetFreeHour will be celebrated for an hour on Nov 14 (Children’s Day), 2019 between 7.30 pm and 8.30 pm. During this period, families will disconnect from their gadgets and use that time to spend with their children – playing, eating, talking and laughing together. Parents can show their support for the campaign by taking the pledge at www.gadgetfreehour.com, or give a missed call to 7230019118.

Real connection gets a reboot

 With the Tamil Nadu government education department coming forward to support this grand initiative of ParentCircle (Refer to the attached official circular), change is already visible on the ground. Director of School Education, Tamil Nadu Government, Dr. S. Kannappan says, “#GadgetFreeHour is a very good initiative that will help build healthy parent-child relationships in our society, which is much needed today. Spending time with children will create an atmosphere of love and affection, which will help children grow and build lifelong relationships with their parents. I urge parents to use this hour to begin meaningful connections with their children.”

Schools and educational institutions are eagerly looking forward to this special initiative. Andrew Hoover, Head of American International School, Chennai, asserts, “We are so pleased to see initiatives like this one happening among parents. We are supportive of initiatives that raise awareness, encourage positive relationships, inspire healthy habits, and empower self-management.” And this is just the beginning.

Sponsors

Ramco Group and Murugappa Group are the lead sponsors of the #GadgetFreeHour initiative.

• Our supporting sponsors include Apollo Shine Foundation, VGP Marine Kingdom and Little Elly

Puthiya Thalaimurai is the official television partner

Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEFIndia) is our outreach partner

Commenting on the association, P.R. Venkatarama Raja, Chairman, Ramco Group, says, “Ramco has always believed in the importance of strong family bonds. The #GadgetFreeHour campaign, initiated by ParentCircle is a great way to strengthen the bond between the parent and the child. We hope this message to parents to ‘connect by disconnecting’ will reach millions of people across India.”

The Murugappa Group is equally excited to support the #GadgetFreeHour initiative. The Group states, “We support this initiative because we believe in the strength of the family institution.”

#GadgetFreeHour dinners One of the most exciting features of the #GadgetFreeHour is the GadgetFreeHour dinner being offered at select restaurants including some of the biggest hotel chains in India. Hyatt, Hilton and Le Meridien to name a few have offered diners up to 20% off on their dinner bills, provided people do not use gadgets during the dinner. A spokesperson for a top hotel chain says, “We are pleased to inform that we are more than willing to do the campaign with ParentCircle and will actively encourage our guests to take part.”

Celebs’ thumbs up 

Aimed to garner a MILLION pledges, #GadgetFreeHour has received a thumbs up from celebrities and experts as there is a growing recognition of a need for such a ‘movement’. Some of the leading celebrities to endorse the #GadgetFreeHour include:

Actor Sameera Reddy, Chess legend Vishwanathan Anand, Cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin, Actor Bhoomika Chawla, Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Top Radio Jockey ‘RJ’ Balaji, Singers Unnikrishnan and Mahati, and Stand-up comedian Amit Tandon. Here are excerpts from a couple of celebrity messages for the big day (We shall provide more from other celebs and entire list if required)

Vishwanathan Anand, Chess legend:

On Children’s Day, I’d like to try and ask you to try as well, to spend one hour with your children instead of your gadgets. It won’t be easy and probably, at first, your child isn’t used to having you without your gadget. But, over time, I am sure this will develop into a wonderful habit. Let’s give it a shot this Children’s Day for the ParentCircle #GadgetFreeHour initiative and let’s give our children a big hug.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Cricketer: 

When children see parents using their mobile phones, they will also use the mobile phones. When children see parents playing the PlayStation, they will also do the same. It’s not the children’s fault, but they just do what’s in front of them. We are the ones teaching. I feel playing with your children, teaching them to go outdoors and not making it a habit to stay inside the house are some of the key ingredients that parents will have to try and balance. As a parent, you need to feel happy about being tired playing with your children. If you spend time with them, you will be in the best position to give them what they want.

Bhoomika Chawla, Actor: 

These days we are all living together, staying together and yet not being together. We are in this same space, sharing the same physical space, but we don’t share the (same) kind of time with our children. You need quality time with your children. When they talk, you have to listen, not just hear. Listen fully and be there. #GadgetFreeHour is a wonderful initiative by ParentCircle. I urge all parents to disconnect to reconnect.

Sameera Reddy, Actor: 

On this children’s day, I really think it is high time we try to engage with our kids and keep those gadgets away. Let’s do one hour of gadget free time wherein we actually connect with our kids, we don’t get distracted, we don’t look away. Let’s give this a shot and make this Children’s Day really special.

Bestselling authors join in #GadgetFreeHour movement has also received strong endorsement from award-winning authors and global Gurus, Dr Laura Markham, Nir Eyal, Tanya Goodin, Dr Victoria Dunckley and Dr Sharon Saline. We shall provide more from other celebs and entire list if required.

#GadgetFreeHour quick pointers

• First-ever initiative in the world, to be celebrated every Children’s Day, Nov 14, between 7.30 pm and 8.30 pm India Time

• Nearly 1 million parents set to take the ‘pledge’ to keep off gadgets during the GadgetFreeHour

• 58000+ (fifty-eight thousand) schools pledge to urge parents to participate in this initiative

• Top corporate houses including AT&T and Tata Motors pledge to take part in this initiative

• Highly recommended star hotels and restaurants sign up for the #GadgetFreeHour dinner initiative. All patrons who have taken the pledge will get a 10 - 20% discount during the #GadgetFreeHour special dinner.

• As part of its commitment, ParentCircle digital platform will shut down between 7.30 pm and 8.30 pm on Nov 14th, 2019

How parents can take part in #GadgetFreeHour: By taking a simple pledge at www.gadgetfreehour.com

They can go through the 5-step video to understand how they can be a part of this campaign. Parents can explore a list of exclusive activities, articles, interviews with global parenting Gurus, and play the activity wheel on www.gadgetfreehour.com

About ParentCircle We are India’s #1 parenting platform www.parentcircle.com. Started in 2011 as a parenting magazine, today, ParentCircle has emerged as a strong print and digital force in India. Over the last 8 years, at ParentCircle, we have been pursuing a single-minded mission – to build confidence in parents to raise happy, healthy, confident, compassionate children. To be a confident parent, we believe a strong parent-child connection is a key, which in turn makes children feel loved, understood, safe and secure.

Today, our magazines enjoy a readership of nearly 1.5 lakh. Our digital platform is clocking a viewership rate of 15 million per year. With global parenting experts and bestselling authors on board, ParentCircle is fast emerging as the one-stop solution for parent engagement programs for families, corporate houses and educational institutions, among others.

Coverage of #GadgetFreeHour

We request you to actively cover the #GadgetFreeHour initiative and spread the word so more families can join in the movement and take the pledge. Together, we can make a big difference to children and families across India, building an awareness of the importance of ‘connecting by disconnecting’. 

For queries, interaction opportunities and exclusive interviews with the leadership and expert team of ParentCircle, please feel free to get in touch with us. We will be happy to explain the #GadgetFreeHour concept in greater detail so your publication’s readers/viewers can benefit immensely from this important social initiative. Please call us on 9985239333/ 9840671969 or email us at contact@parentcircle.com 

Join our Circles to share, discuss and learn from fellow parents and experts!

Looking for expert tips and interesting articles on parenting? Subscribe now to our magazine. Connect with us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube