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Say ‘no’ to your TV, computer for Turnoff Week

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.

Tx98001a Now with the emergence of the Internet and video games, the American obsession with the screen continues.

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. 

Tx98001b 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.

Copyright 2009, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

Comments

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Lisa

What a great idea! I'm always careful about how much screen time my kids and I have every day. For me, Facebook can be a big time consumer if I let it. My kids would watch tv all day if I let them, but we have such a better time in the park.

Denise Fisher

This isn't meant to be a snarky remark, but you DO realize the irony of posting this topic on this medium, right?

A whole week without viewing a screen might be tough. Most people have jobs that require them to be connected, and even those at home check their e-mail at least daily. How many bloggers could get by without being online for a week? I guess the main point to focus on is awareness and moderation. But the AMA et al have their work cut out for them. I wonder if those people would be able to unplug for an entire week.

Rita

Hi Lisa,

It's good to limit TV watching for children. It's much better for their development to be playing in the park than sitting in front of screens.

Rita

Rita

Hi Denise,

Yes, I do realize the irony of posting about Turn Off Week on a blog.

I wanted to write about it to raise awareness that too much screen time can take away from family time and contributing to the community.

I've continued to blog this week, but have turned off the TV. I don't watch much TV usually, so that isn't too difficult for me.

The average for TV watching is four hours a day; for computers and other screens, it's another four hours. These are non-work figures.

Rita

wow gold cheap

That's a good idea. If there's no TV or computer the family tends to interact with one another compared to being a loner in front of a PC or TV. Now, that's really a good idea to give myself a break from playing World of Warcraft.

Rita

Hi wow gold cheap,

Thanks for your comment.

Yes, less TV and screen time is better so you can spend more time with family and friends.

Rita

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