“The average American spends four hours a day watching television. That adds up to more than one day every week, two months every year, and nine solid years by age 65, that Americans spend glued to the tube,” according to TV-Turnoff Network.
TV-Turnoff Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults by encouraging less television viewing.
The network has developed two main programs to accomplish this goal: TV-Turnoff Week and More Reading, Less TV.
“On April 23-29, 2001, millions of people around the world will rediscover that life can be more rewarding, interesting and fun without TV,” according to the Network’s Web site, tvturnoff.org.
This year mark’s the seventh such TV-Turnoff Week. The American Medical Association, National Education Association and dozens of other organizations have supported and endorsed the project. At least 24 million people have participated since the program began.
More Reading, Less TV is a “six-week program designed to encourage young students to develop a deep enjoyment for reading while simultaneously helping them to reduce the amount of television they watch,” according to tvturnoff.org.
Various studies have demonstrated links between intense television viewing and poor literacy skills.
More than 30,000 students have participated in the program. “Students watch less television, read more, and participate in more screen-free activities than before,” read the Network’s Web site.
The site offers fact sheets, research, essays, quotes and other materials about television viewing and its effects.
The Network’s board of advisors includes: George Gerbner, renowned media researcher; Todd Gitlin, longtime media scholar; and Neil Postman, famous author on media and society.
“Rather than waiting for others to make ‘better’ TV,” read the site, “we can turn it off and reclaim time for our families, our friends, and for ourselves.”
Cliff Vaughn is BCE’s associate director.