FOR AN ENTIRELY voluntary activity, television
can be surprisingly destructive. That's why several organizations
have come together to sponsor and promote TV Turnoff Week. The international effort
has been motivated by statistics such as these:
1. On average, an American teen spends
about 900 hours per year in school, but about 1500 hours per
year watching television.
2. An average American child watches 30,000
commercials on TV every year. That is a significant amount of
learning and indoctrination.
3. Four hours of Saturday morning cartoons
will show 202 "junk food" ads to the young minds watching.
4. On average, by the time we've reached
65, we will have spent nearly 9 of our years watching television.
5. According to ScreenTime.org, "In the US and other
industrialized nations around the world, screen time use continue
to increase every year. The average daily usage for all screens,
in some countries, has reached 9 hours per day. This is for recreational
use of screens and does not include work time."
"On average, people watch 4 hours
of television and then spend another 4 plus hours with computers,
games, video, iPods and cell phones. According to Nielsen, the
average World of Warcraft gamer plays for 892 minutes per week!
The company that owns Second Life (a virtual world) claims that
its users spent over 1 million hours on line. These statistics
hold true for children directed sites as well, including Webkinz
6. Parents spend an average of 39 minutes
of meaningful conversation with their children per week. Children
spend an average of 1680 minutes watching television per week.
7. Twelve large-scale studies show excessive
TV watching increases the risk for obesity.
8. Watching television more than ten hours
a week measurably impairs academic success.
9. When children between the ages of four
and six were given the choice between watching television or
spending time with their fathers, 54 percent of them chose television.
10. Watching TV displaces worthwhile and
fulfilling activities healthy, constructive, rewarding
activities, things that we don't "have time for" such
news programs is especially destructive.
12. No waking activity burns fewer calories
than watching television.
13. The more TV a child watches, the more
they snack between meals and crave the advertised foods they
see in commercials.
I invite you to learn more and then participate
in TV Turnoff Week. Afterward, if you're motivated
to watch less TV in general, use these ideas to help you change your TV habits.
Find out more on these websites:
Unplug Your Kids
Books for further reading:
Four Arguments for the Elimination
Living Without the Screen:
Causes and Consequences of Life without Television
Alternatives to TV Handbook
The Big Turnoff: Confessions of a TV-Addicted Mom
Trying to Raise a TV-Free Kid
Amusing Ourselves to Death