Turn Off the TV: Screen Time Reduction

Turn Off the TV Week (2010 Dates TBA)
Turn Off the TV. Turn On Life.

This week is a chance to read, be more physically active, converse, think, create and do, rather than view. By taking a week off from screens, families can evaluate the role that screens play in their lives and reclaim time for family, community and health.

Children in the US watch more than four hour of television each day. In the course of a year, they spend more time in front of the television (1023 hours) than in school (900 hours). Studies show that children who watch less TV are more likely to read and be physically fit.

Facts and Figures from the Center for Screen Time Awareness

  • Time per day the TV is on in average American household: 7 hours, 40 minutes
  • Time per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 38.5 minutes
  • Percentage of 4-6 year-olds who, when asked, would rather watch TV than spend time with their fathers: 54
  • Percentage of children ages 8-16 who have a TV in their bedroom: 56
  • Number of TV commercials viewed by American children a year: 40,000
  • Number of violent acts the average American child see on TV by age 18: 200,000

Here are some tips to keep families “screen lean”:

  • Set limits on screen time.
  • Don’t let your children watch TV while doing homework.
  • Don’t put a TV or computer in your child’s room.
  • Make meal time, family time. Turn off the TV while you eat.
  • Give other options. Watching TV can become a habit for your child. Stock the house with balls, jump ropes, frisbees, books and games.
  • Don’t use TV to reward or punish a child. This makes TV seem even more important.

Screen-Free Ideas for Families:

  • Take the dog for a walk.
  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Visit a local park.
  • Go to the library.
  • Help a neighbor.
  • Cook dinner together.
  • Plant a garden, even if it’s just a few plants in a pot.
  • Have family game nights.
  • Invite another family over to play games.