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'National Day of Unplugging' urges all to put down electronics

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(WJLA) - Amid all this jumping, climbing, and sliding, there’s a pretty serious mission going on. It’s called the “National Day of Unplugging.”

“You can't have fun if you're stuck to your phone,” says Rockville parent Ivan Gaviria.

Facilities like this “Pump It Up” indoor playground in Gaithersburg are urging parents to put their devices away.

“We just encourage them to put the iPads, cell phones, laptops down and have fun with their kids,” says Madeline Portillo.

But for many parents, it’s a technological tug-of-war.

“ You don't want your kids to grow up and be like, ‘Mom, you weren't here during the moment,’” says Portillo.

“We are always drawn to that vibrating or dinging. It's hard,” admits parent Eve Sergeyko.

In February, we told you about parent Jodi Whiteman, who was caught between a stack of emails on her phone and her six-year-old, Lindsey – who went outside to play on the monkey bars and moments later, broke her arm.

“If I just would've put that down and held off for 20 minutes to go out with her, maybe it wouldn't have happened,” she said.

Experts call this juggling act “distracted parenting,” and some doctors are convinced it’s behind a three-percent annual rise in early childhood injuries.

“Unfortunately, we're forced to be attached to them – but places like this and other opportunities allow us to really put them away,” says Gaviria.

So make room for memories and happily noisy children.

“Actually, I turn it off and I put it in my holster and pretend I don't have it anymore...like it's the 90’s,” says parent Ryan Spence.

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