National TV-Turnoff Week
         You have one week to get ready. From the 22nd to the 28th, TV-Free America is sponsoring its fifth annual National TV-Turnoff Week.

         TV-Free America has compiled impressive statistics about the TV-watching habits of Americans. For example, the average American child, ages 2 - 11,
watches television 1,197 minutes per week. In contrast, the average parents
spend 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children.
While 25% of teenagers can name Philadelphia as the city where the US
constitution was written, 75% know that the ZIP code 90210 is Beverly Hills.

         There are many more impressive statistics about the numbers of illegal and
illicit acts that children see on television. Rather than quote them in this limited
space, I turn your attention to two tremendous resources to help you get ready
for this week, with the hopes that you can extend the lessons learned throughout
the coming year.

         First is TV-Free America (202-887-0436, Their Organizerís Kit
includes information for organizing a TV-turnoff, lists of family activities, impressive
statistics about family life, children and education, violence and health,
commercialism, general information about the impact of television on our lives,
and reprints of several articles about TV-turnoff from newspapers and

         Second is Adams Media Corp. (800-872-5627,,
publishers of 365 TV-Free Activities You Can Do with Your Child by Steve & Ruth
Bennett, an outstanding resource of ideas that capitalize on the use of time and
common household objects to focus on family members spending time
together. The goal is to relate to each other, rather than looking at the television.

         Here is a partial list of some things you can do to instead of watching TV:
play games, read, jump rope, build things, write letters or stories, put on a play or
puppet show, visit people, plant flowers or a tree, take a walk or hike, listen to
music, dance or sing, tell stories, practice musical instruments, keep a journal,
create art, clean out your closet, visit your public library, bake something,
rearrange your furniture, have a garage sale, fix something, put photos into a
family album.

         This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents

All columns are copyright © Jay Davidson. Permission is hereby granted for individuals to download and copy them for individual use. There is a modest charge for printing these columns in any publication. To receive that permission, contact Jay Davidson