Written by Team ParentCircle and published on 26 May 2021.
#GadgetFreeHour day is here. Scroll below for LIVE updates, celebrity video messages, tips, real-life stories, parent experiences and more as we celebrate Children's Day in the most meaningful way
10:00 p.m. - And a big thanks to all our viewers who have been with us all day from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. And a big thanks to Team ParentCircle for putting together a show! As we wrap up a great night for parents, we bring you all the action from 'Behind the Scenes'. Good night and have great moments of connection. Until we meet again!
9:45 p.m. - And last but not the least, #GadgetFreeHour has been a visionary initiative of Nalina Ramalakshmi, Managing Director of ParentCircle. Here she is, obviously excited and touched by the response to this very important social awareness campaign. Hear her out!
9:30 p.m. - It's been an amazing day with schools, corporates, hotels, organisations and people from different walks of life joining in for this first-of-its-kind initiative. We've put together a quick highlights package to help you relive the day in one minute.
9:20 p.m. - Stories from parents on how they spent #GadgetFreeHour are pouring in! Read on!
9:10 p.m. - Parents and children seem to have made the best of the #GadgetFreeHour. Here are some wonderful images you have all sent.
Images of #GadgetFreeHour
The message is loud and clear. #GadgetFreeHour has made a grand beginning and it is definitely not a one-off day. It marks a new beginning. Joining us now on the phone is Anand, an entrepreneur and more importantly, a daddy from Chennai.
9:00 p.m. - Reactions are flooding the social media channels post the #GadgetFreeHour. Here are some responses we have handpicked post the #GadgetFreeHour:
8:50 p.m. - That was fun, wasn't it? One of the other big highlights of the #GadgetFreeHour was the #GadgetFreeHour dinner. We have this beautiful photo sent in by one of the parents from a hotel in Chennai.
Our Correspondent, Subhechha Chatterjee joins us to give a quick update on how the #GadgetFreeHour dinner went by.
8:40 p.m. - Joining us now to share her experience of the #GadgetFreeHour are Rishaan Paes and Anaira Paes, children of Bangalore-based parents, Soumya Achrekar Paes and Loyson Paes.
Let's hear all about the #GadgetFreeHour experience from the parents who took the pledge! Great to hear your 'joy of connection' stories!
8:35 p.m. - If you are wondering how you can make #GadgetFreeHour a daily routine, here are some wise tips to help you do just that. These tips have been shared by renowned international experts exclusively for the readers of ParentCircle.
Just follow these simple tips
Tips to disconnect from gadgets
1. Schedule gadget-free time every day for you and your family
2. Set aside gadget-free zones in the house
3. Have gadget-free meals together at home or outside
4. When spending time with children, turn off your notifications and phones. Even better, hide them from sight
5. Turn off Wi-Fi at a fixed time, every night
We also have put together some good articles with simple activity ideas for you to rediscover the joy of connection. Check these out
8.30 p.m. - Welcome back. So, you disconnected to reconnect. How was the experience of the #GadgetFreeHour? Phenomenal? Rejuvenating? Reconnecting? Soul filling? Certainly, all of these. We congratulate all the parents out there who found purpose in this very important initiative. A few minutes every day is all it takes to build a lifetime of connections with your child. Go for it. And now, share your experience with us and the rest of the world. How did it feel to be away from gadgets and fully connect with your child? Write to us by clicking on this link and telling us how it felt to be away from the distraction of the gadgets. Your story of those 60 minutes.
See you at 8.30 pm
7:30 p.m. - It's time for your #GadgetFreeHour and time for us to log off, with the promise that we will be back at 8.30 pm to hear your great stories about the joy of connection. As promised, ParentCircle is shutting down now and will be back at 8.30 pm to make sure you are enjoying every moment with your children.
7:25 p.m. - Last 5 minutes to go for the #GadgetFreeHour and for those who haven't taken the pledge, here is your last chance to do so. Take the pledge at www.gadgetfreehour.com, or give a missed call to 7230019118.
7:20 p.m. - Last 10 minutes to go for the #GadgetFreeHour and also the #GadgetFreeHour Dinner. Hiltons, Hyatts and several other prominent chains have joined hands to be a part of this very special initiative. So, if you are anywhere near these partner restaurants, enjoy the special #GadgetFreeHour dinner now. But there are some rules. Check out what Aully Banerjee, Marketing & Communications Manager at Hilton, Chennai, has to say about this initiative.
Joining us now with just 10 minutes to go for the #GadgetFreeHour is our correspondent Subhechha Chatterjee.
7:15 p.m. - Last 15 minutes now and if you are wondering what the excitement about the #GadgetFreeHour is all about, here is a quick video to help you get a quick understanding of the initiative.You can show your support for the campaign by taking the pledge at www.gadgetfreehour.com, or giving a missed call to 7230019118.
7:10 p.m. - Vishy has just checkmated the gadgets with another of his trademark moves. Alright, inside the last 30 minutes and we are just told that most of our partner corporates have ensured their employees are back home before 7.30 pm to be with their families for the #GadgetFreeHour. Joining us now over the phone is Gayathri, one of our HR partners:
7:00 p.m. - Just the way Sanjeev often says, Every dish is a statement that takes you on a journey that's traditional and beyond. How true! So, go ahead and cook up a story tonight with your child. Alternatively, you can give your brain some food as well if you plan to indulge in a game of chess " another great activity for family connections. On that note, we have the greatest Indian chess player of all time, Vishwanathan Anand.You can show your support for the campaign by taking the pledge at www.gadgetfreehour.com, or giving a missed call to 7230019118.
#GadgetFreeHour initiative has been powered by The Ramco Cements Ltd. and Murugappa Group. We are being supported by Apollo Shine Foundation, Little Elly and the VGP Marine Kingdom.
Our Media partners are Puthiya Thalaimurai and Hello FM and our Outreach partner are Digital Empowerment Foundation of India.
6:50 p.m. - So, wasn't that a great nostalgic trip? One of the activities you can certainly do at 7.30 pm is to involve your child in cooking. I can safely tell you, children are fun to have in the kitchen and make for a great connection opportunity. Just imagine the family 'master chefs' in action. Wow. A great recipe indeed for connection. We are now joined by the legendary Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, who is now heading home to spend time with his children and urging you to do so as well. Check it out!
6:40 p.m. - The final countdown is here. Under an hour for the #GadgetFreeHour and ARE YOU READY? If you've still not taken the pledge, you can do so now at www.gadgetfreehour.com, or give a missed call to 7230019118. Wondering how to engage with your child between 7.30 pm and 8.30 pm today? The expert panel at ParentCircle, which includes reputed names from the most respected child psychology and research organisations, has come up with the following suggestions for parents:
Tips to connect with children during #GadgetFreeHour
1. Eat together: Eat together as a family, chatting, sharing jokes and relishing the food.
2. Play together: Play cards, board games, carroms, hide and seek and more.
3. Walk together: Take a little stroll around your neighbourhood and just talk about everything under the sky!
4. Share together: Pull out old family albums or your child's baby albums and look relive the memories.
5. 'Act' together: Cook, dance, sing, paint Work as a team (family).
These apart, we have also come up with an interesting bit of childhood games we all miss today. Let your child know about these simple, fun activities and in the process, you can rediscover yourself. Check out our exclusive article to help you connect during the #GadgetFreeHour
6:30 p.m. - Fantastic to see so many schools coming forward to support this initiative. #GadgetFreeHour, like we have been saying, has also caught the attention of several achievers, celebrities and experts from around the world. Nir Eyal, the author of Hooked: How to build habit-forming products is largely 'credited' with us getting hooked to gadgets. Interestingly, the great author has also come up with a book to help parents manage distractions. Eyal has these wonderful suggestions for parents coming in all the way from New York, during an exclusive interaction with ParentCircle.
6:25 p.m - The Tamil Nadu government, as well as the CBSE south wing, have supported this initiative big time. The reach has been phenomenal. To help us understand how this aspect has pushed the #GadgetFreeHour big time is our Schools and Colleges correspondent Rashmi Nagendran.
6:20 p.m. - Oh, yes, Sameera and Bhumika. Well said. We can do this for our children, and we should do this for them. This is the need of the hour. With nearly 1 lakh schools participating in #GadgetFreeHour campaign, change is bound to happen. Talking about the special day, several schools had some beautiful cultural activities for the tiny tots. Our correspondent Sindhu Sivalingam sends us this from Kalpavriksh Montessori Community School in Chennai. Have fun.
6:10 p.m. - Always exciting to see such involvement from parents and children. So, we can do this for our children, right? With just over an hour to go, check out a simple, yet meaningful messages from actors Sameera Reddy and Bhumika Chawla.
06:00 p.m. - Alright, Good evening, Vanakkam, Namaskar once again. The sun is about to set but it is also about to rise in many households for a bright, engaging evening. This is a historic day and we are super excited to be coming to you LIVE from the ParentCircle headquarters in Chennai as we celebrate Children's Day 2019 with the world's first-ever #GadgetFreeHour. Who would have ever thought that the brainchild of ParentCircle, which got seeded only a month ago would go so viral in such a short time? #GadgetFreeHour is today the talk of the town and rightly so. If you are outside or at your workplace, pack up, beat the traffic and head back home soon. Your time with your children and without your gadgets for one full hour is waiting for you. Your children could not have got a better gift from you this Children's Day.
05:50 p.m. - A legend in her own right, Mithali played a massive role in uplifting women's cricket in India. We thank you, Mithali for your wonderful contributions and your equally wonderful message for parents today. Alright, time to check on the social meter. We can safely tell you #GadgetFreeHour is trending big and rightly so. We are happy to share that some really big names in different spheres of life have been championing the cause on social media. Here's a quick glimpse:
To talk more about the excitement in social media, I am now joined by Ritika Banerjee, our social media correspondent:
Telephonic chat with Ritika:
05:40 p.m. - Wow, did we take you on a nostalgic ride? Well, I vividly remember how one of the best games we used to play when we were kids was the game of book cricket. How exciting it was. Talking about India's favourite game, we now have India's favourite women's cricketer, an iconic name, Mithali Raaj with a beautiful message. Mithali recorded this for us minutes after returning from a triumphant tour of the West Indies. She was tired, but her enthusiasm, as always, got the better of fatigue. Listen in to her message:
05:30 p.m. - Just 2 hours to go for the #GadgetFreeHour and as we build up, here's an interesting message coming in from one of our readers, Namitha from Pune. It's a great initiative, this GadgetFreeHour, but how do we keep our children engaged during that one hour? asks Namitha. Interesting question, Namitha, but I must tell you engaging with children is not as difficult as you think it is. We have packaged 3 sets of special activity articles based on different age groups. Makes for a perfect read and what's more! We have classified the same based on age groups to help you make the perfect choice.
Tweets, tweets and more tweets coming in!
05:20 p.m. - The atmosphere is evident in the way Siddiqha summed up. Staying with Chennai, one of the most popular RJs of the city just cannot stop talking about the #GadgetFreeHour. He is so touched by the awareness campaign that he is willing to go the extra distance to spread the word despite his hyper busy schedule. Let's get straight to the super RJ Balaji.
05:10 p.m. - All day we've had some amazing reactions coming in from different parts of India. Joining us now from Chennai where we have plenty of 'hectivity' today with events, schools, corporate and other organisations, is our correspondent Siddiqha Naseem:
#GadgetFreeHour is trending on Instagram!
05:00 p.m. - It's 5 p.m. and Happy Children's Day to all of you wherever you are. We are barely two hours away from the #GadgetFreeHour and the excitement is building up. From parents to teachers; film stars to sports personalities; musicians to magicians; employees to stay-at-home parents " all are eagerly waiting for the #GadgetFreeHour. In case you haven't taken the pledge yet, here's your chance to take it now.
By taking a simple pledge at www.gadgetfreehour.com
You can go through the 5-step video to understand how you 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.
Check out this Insta post that has just come in!
04:50 p.m. - Welcome back and if you thought we are taking you on a helicopter ride to the Amazon forests, well you can certainly feel good about it. But, Helicopter, Tiger, Dolphin these are among the many parenting styles. Keen to know more about them? Check out our article written with expert inputs:
The second one (more obvious, wasn't it?): relates to handling behavioural elements, especially in young children. One of the biggest behavioural challenges in recent times has been that of smartphone behaviour. Is your family's smartphone behaviour healthy? Find out in this exclusive conversation with international bestselling author Dr. Tchiki Davis:
04:40 p.m. - Fun facts and trivia time
I've got a few questions for you. Find out how well tuned you are when it comes to parenting:
You think you know the answers. Find out on the other side with answers.
04:30 p.m. - HPCL has tweeted on #GadgetFreeHour. Check it out:
Under 3 hours to go now for the #GadgetFreeHour, a social awareness campaign by ParentCircle, the buzzword in town today. With parents flocking to take the pledge, the message is loud and clear " Disconnect from gadgets and reconnect with children.
Nothing has reshaped our communication, our relationships, and our lives more than technology and devices in the 21st century.
Born to celebrate the beautiful natural bond between parents and children, #GadgetFreeHour will be celebrated for an hour this evening to celebrate Children's Day 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.You can show your support for the campaign by taking the pledge at www.gadgetfreehour.com, or by giving a missed call to 7230019118.
04:20 p.m. - Joining us now from Bangalore is our correspondent Vasuki, who has got this wonderful video from the Vedic Lore Preschool by Moms, who too, like so many others in India, are eagerly looking forward to the #GadgetFreeHour.
04:10 pm - Just what the doctor ordered if you are a parent looking for ways to handle your child's gadget habits. Talking about doctors, the real ones, we are excited to state that some big names have joined in for the #GadgetFreeHour campaign. Noted Padma Shri award winner, Dr Kamini Rao and Digestive health expert, Dr Muffazal Lakdawala share their messages for the #GadgetFreeHour. Listen in:You can show your support for the campaign by taking the pledge at www.gadgetfreehour.com, or giving a missed call to 7230019118.
#GadgetFreeHour initiative has been powered by The Ramco Cements Ltd. and Murugappa Group. We are being supported by Apollo Shine Foundation, Little Elly and VGP Marine Kingdom.
Our Media partners are Puthiya Thalaimurai and Hello FM and our Outreach partner is Digital Empowerment Foundation of India.
04:00 p.m." Teatime and with it some biscuits. Your child's back from school and the rest of the evening is going to be all about conversations and connections. If you are looking for ways to keep your child off gadgets, you are about to read 21 tips that can change your life forever:
03:40 p.m. " What's also been phenomenal has been the response of the corporate world and other organisations working to improve the quality of life. I remember one beautiful line as I say this. 'Employees are assets no doubt, but they are bigger assets at home'. Incredible respect for human resources. #GadgetFreeHour is privileged to see heightened participation from leading organisations. We now present some exceptional reactions from four such organisations who have pledged to make this a better world indeed.
Bylanes of Bengaluru:
03:30 p.m."Just four hours to go for history to unfold " the world's first-ever #GadgetFreeHour. It's a special moment for Nalina Ramalakshmi, Founder and Managing Director, ParentCircle. Nalina has always strived to bring together parents on important issues related to parenting and today, given the response, she is filled with HOPE. Says Nalina, 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.
Nalina's thoughts struck a chord with the listeners of Hello FM 106.4, one of Chennai's most popular FM radio stations during an interaction earlier this morning. Listen in:
03:20 p.m. " It's incredible, isn't it, to see that kind of love for traditional arts and crafts. All children are natural artists and gadgets are not necessarily natural for them. While gadgets are highly beneficial considering they could define the way our children live as they grow up, balance holds the key. Gadgets cannot replace the joy of natural connections. Gadgets need to enable our lives and not drive them. How can one go about balancing family time and screen time? Read this article written by an expert who has researched extensively on the subject.
03:10 p.m. " Alright, Siddiqha, our correspondent has a well-known television personality joining us with a stunning pledge. Listen in:
That was in typical VJ Archana style. Keeping up with the artistic flavour, we head straight to Hyderabad and talk to veena artist, Veena Srivani. The ace artist, who left the world stunned with her 'breathless' performance is all set to leave you speechless with her thoughts. Here we go:
03:00 p.m. " Talking about changemakers, India will eternally be thankful to one person who has done her bit to cater to the hungry in the most innovative fashion. Even as the world was busy celebrating the Ice Bucket Challenge, noted journalist, Manju Latha Kalanidhi invented the Rice Bucket Challenge and the impact it is having can never ever be described in words. Manju is also a mommy to a teenager and absolutely loves her parenting. Here's her #GadgetFreeHour message to all the parents out there:
02:50 p.m. "The #GadgetFreeHour 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. Here's a snapshot of the campaign's coverage in the press:
02:40 p.m." What's been the most remarkable feature about #GadgetFreeHour is the way it has brought together people from all walk