This April, millions of kids and adults around the world will turn off their televisions and find out what life can be like without TV.
It seems especially appropriate that TV-Turnoff Week falls during the same month as the Week of the Young Child (April). Young children need lots of positive attention from the adults in their lives for their brains, emotions, and bodies to develop to their full potential. Television robs families of just this kind of interaction by taking the place of normal adult-child contact and family activities.
Hundreds of research studies have been done on TV and how it affects our kids. From these studies we know that:
- The average kid (aged 8-14) in the United States spends over four hours a day watching television shows, videos/DVDs, and recorded television programs (such as with TiVo) .
- 63% of American families with kids aged 8-18 usually have the TV on during meals .
- TV viewing is a major factor in the rising rates of obesity in our kids. As US Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher said at the Kick Off of TV-Turnoff Week 2001, "We are raising the most overweight generation of youngsters in American history...This week is about saving lives."
- TV viewing by kids tends to increase their aggression and decrease their ability to pay attention.
- Kids who watch more TV have more trouble with reading and school.
This, from the Center for Screen-Time Awareness:
‘TV-Turnoff Week Works!
According to hundreds of responses to our TV-Turnoff Week follow-up surveys, 90 percent of responding participants reduced their TV-viewing as a result of participating.
Sound like fun? It is! Join thousands of parents, teachers, pediatricians and other families by celebrating TV-Turnoff Week 2002 this April 22-28.
TV-Turnoff Week is supported by over 70 national organizations including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Education Association, and President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
"I really didn't like TV-Turnoff Week except that I did notice that my grades went up and I was in a good mood all week." - Second grader Drew Henderson, Donora, PA’
For more information related to TV-Turnoff Week:
- To learn more about TV Turnoff Week, visit the official website of the Center for Screen-Time Awareness.
- To find helpful resources, and get tips to help you manage TV viewing in your family, visit YourChild: Managing Television—Tips for Your Family.
- To learn more about the research on television and kids, visit Television on YourChild.
- Listen to YourChild podcasts about violent media and television.
Give it a try in your family: for a week in April, turn off your TV and turn on LIFE!
~Kyla Boyse, R.N.
Updated March 2010
Reviewed by faculty and staff at the University of Michigan