For years, I’ve been concerned about the amount of time people spend watching television.
There’s so much that can be accomplished, including community-enhancing projects, but instead Americans are glued to their TV sets.
On average, people watch four hours of TV daily and then spend another four-plus hours with computers, games, video, iPods, and cell phones.
The average World of Warcraft gamer plays for 892 minutes per week, reports a Nielsen poll. The company that owns Second Life – a virtual world – claims that its users spent over one million hours on line.
Children six and under spend an average of two hours a day using screen media, about the same amount of time they spend playing outside, and well over the amount they spend reading or being read to – 39 minutes.
Screen time cuts into family time and is a leading cause of obesity in both adults and children, reports the Center for Screen-Time Awareness. Excessive use of screens for recreational purposes leads to a more sedentary and solitary lifestyle, which is unhealthy mentally and physically.
In the U.S. and other industrialized nations around the world, screen time use continues to increase every year. The average daily usage for all screens, in some countries, has reached nine hours per day. This is for recreational use of screens and doesn’t include work time.
Turnoff Week, formerly called TV Turnoff Week, is April 20 to 26. People are encouraged to not watch TV, use their computers, or use other screens during the week, or at least cut down on usage of screens.
Millions of people around the world participate in Turnoff Week, with many taking part through schools, churches, or community groups, as families or individuals, or at work.
When they turn off their screens, people have time to relax, think, read, create something, or catch up on things they haven’t had time to do. Opportunities to spend time with families and take part in community activities also emerge.
Turnoff Week is supported by the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Education Association, and President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.