Thursday, April 27, 2006
TV Turnoff Week Comes with a Strong Commercial-Free Message
This could solve more than one problem.
TV Turnoff Week Comes with a Strong Commercial-Free Message:
"More than a few parents ask themselves the same question during TV Turnoff Week, which starts today and goes through the end of the month: 'Does that mean us too?'
TV: Could you live without it for a week? (Photo/BBC)
Gary Ruskin says, yes, of course. He is the executive director of Commercial Alert, the Portland-based non-profit organization devoted to protecting kids from exploitation through marketing and advertising.
'I think of the question in two parts,' says Ruskin, a veteran of Washington, D.C., activism who has found larger measures of peace and sanity on the West Coast.
'The first is what can parents do as parents (about kids watching too much TV).
The second is what can parents do as citizens.'
As for part one, Ruskin says 'putting your TV in the closet or basement or somewhere not close to an outlet' is one effective strategy. That way, you go extra steps to use it.
'Research is clear, kids follow their parents' lead,' he said. 'Parents who go outdoors, enjoy reading, do those sorts of things, they will find their kids doing the same thing.'
TV Turnoff Week is a successful program developed by the D.C.-based TV-Turnoff Network. Among other strategies, it prompts parent with handouts with titles such as 'Warning: Too Much TV Is Hazardous to Your Health.' Kids come home with sign-up sheets stating they will not watch television for seven days and parents can check a box for full family participation. There are rewards for following the program, which motivates plenty of kids to be the ones to remind mom or dad that TV is off-limits this week.
Those handouts contain some facts and figures that are likely to stop most parents. Some examples:
Forty percent of U.S. families watch TV during dinner most if "