According to TV-Turnoff Network, now
sponsoring TV-Turnoff week for the eighth year, the average American child, ages
2 - 11, watches 1,000 hours of television every year. Contrast that to the 900
hours that same child spends in a school classroom!
The National Center for Education Statistics tells us that those children
who watch more than six hours of television a week fare worse academically than
those who watch less.
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 resources to help
you get ready for this week, with the hopes that you can extend the lessons
learned beyond next week and throughout the coming years.
First is TV-Turnoff Network (202-518-5556,
www.tvturnoff.org). Their Organizer’s 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 magazines.
Second is Adams Media Corp. (800-872-5627,
www.adamsmedia.com), 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.
In next week’s column, I will explain several reasons
why it is a good idea to decrease or eliminate TV-watching.