What other groups do you fall into when it comes to television?
99% of all homes have one television.
- 45% have three or more, and more than half of children have a set in their bedrooms
- 40 days: Average amount of television you watch in one year
- 1,023 hours watching: Children only spend 900 in school, but 1,023…
- 38.5 minutes: Average weekly time spent in conversation between parent and child
What if you turned off the television just one day per week for one year? You could:
- Exercise the recommended amount of time for the entire week, every week.
- Read more than 15 books.
- Spend more time with your family.
- Lose more than 100 pounds.
- Finish two to fifty projects in your chosen hobby.
- Write a memoir.
- Take more than 10,000 photographs.
- Learn a new language.
- Remodel your home room by room… twice.
- Train for a successful marathon.
- Complete two college courses by correspondence.
- Learn to play a musical instrument.
- Teach your children to garden.
- Walk more than 5,000 miles.
Can you think of something you would like to do this year?
Not for Good Behavior
Parents often fall into the trap, but adults are not immune to it, either. Do not reward good (behavior, grades, room-cleaning skills, homework completion) with television. Do not give it power over your family. This also means not rewarding yourself to the Seinfeld marathon because you got your presentation done ten minutes before you left for work on the day it was due.
Stuffing the Brain
What are you really watching anyway? Better question still, what are your children seeing? Can you handle more statistics?
By age eighteen, your child will have been exposed to more than 200,000 acts of violence. This monstrous number includes 16,000 homicides. Almost 70% of programs include sexual references or acts. The average show with sexual content has five sexual scenes per hour.
44% of children admit they watch something different when their parents are not home, but only 15% of parents use the V-chip in their sets to enforce ratings prohibitions.
More than 1,000 studies in the last ten years causally connect media violence and aggressive behavior in teens. The more realistically the violence is portrayed, the greater the chance the behavior will be learned.
This is not limited to just violent, criminal behavior. Children exposed to excessive amounts of media violence are more likely to have acrimonious relationships with parents, teachers and authority figures, including arguing against authority and on principles governing moral behavior.
Would you be shocked to know 78% of those 18-24 believe stricter media regulations would decrease the amount of teen sex? Nearly 800 of the 1,000 surveyed thought it would.
Get My Hook
Chances of the industry curbing the sexual and violent content are nil. It is up to you. Turn off the set. Go outside and increase your vitamin D content. Get some exercise. Read a book. Do something you want to do.
Make friends. Help another family learn to turn off the set. By not wasting four to six hours a day, you can make a difference in someone’s life… your friends, those in need, your children. Most importantly, you can make a difference in your own level of satisfaction with your life.
You know the instructions are really simple.
- Turn off the television right now.
- Post a note on the refrigerator declaring tube-free days.
- Remove televisions from all but the family room. This means bedrooms, kitchen, study, bathroom and dining room.
- Make a list of what you would like to do, accomplish or learn.
- Do things on list.
- Read the guide. When you do watch, be choosy. Select programs which support the activities from #4. Gardening, music, history, DIY or home repair and educational programming should be your fare.
What would you do with a four hour block of time? Would you give up two days per week to accomplish two things from the list? What would you add to the list? Are you willing to unplug? Can you make a difference?
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© Red Dwyer 2012
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