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April 27, 2006

TV Turn Off Week

What is it that makes people so dependent on television? I just can't understand it. I won't lie, I enjoy laying back and relaxing on the couch to allow myself to be entertained by a box of moving images and sound just as much as the next person. But, thankfully, I was "unfortunate" enough to live for 5 years during my adolescence with only 4 or 5 BBC channels because my parents weren't willing to pay for the Armed Forces Network (AFN) cable that we "should have gotten for free." I remember becoming frustrated with the limited selection of channels when we first moved into our base house from a house we rented where we had Sky satellite TV. Now, I couldn't be more grateful for my parents decision not to waste our money on something so truly unnecessary. It really helped to reduce my own TV watching habits.

Now that I have returned to the states to attend university, I am amazed by many of my peers' attitudes towards television watching. When my Honors Thinking and Writing class was told we would be asked to participate in TV Turn Off Week, I was extremely excited and eager to convince my friends and others in my hall to participate too. The response I've received has been very disheartening. Many students' reaction is: "I would participate if I watched too much TV in the first place. But, I don't." Isn't that similar to something an alcoholic might say about his or her drinking habits? Everyone seems to think they don't watch very much TV. Somehow I have a hard time believing that none of the people I have talked to watch a lot of TV.

Another common reaction I receive from people is: "I can't go a whole week without seeing (insert popular TV show here)!" There is always something that the person watches regularly that they seem to feel that missing a few shows - or even only one - would be the end of the world. Several people have seriously told me that they just can't miss their favorite show. It is as if people think they need TV like they need oxygen, or food, or water. Are you kidding me? TV has become a serious addiction. Can we find someone to invent a media patch? Or maybe a chewing gum?

Don't get me wrong, TV isn't all bad. It is a good way medium for reaching a lot of people located in a lot of different places at the same time and in many instances it is educational. But, as with just about everything in this world, moderation is the key. Too much of anything is bad for you....it's as simple as that. This TV dependence has to stop.

So why is it that so many people spend such a large portion of their time watching TV? I have yetto hear genuinely good answer. The most common response among teens that I have heard is boredom. They all complain there is nothing else to do. But, does that excuse really make sense when people are refusing to give up their scheduled TV time for programs they regularly watch? If someone is planning a certain time to sit down to watch their favorite show, they can't use boredom as an excuse.

My friends and I have found other things to do this week instead of watching TV. Actually, now that I think about it, when I spend time with my friends, we rarely watch TV. We've always have a more creative idea about how to amuse ourselves. Below are a few pictures of other things we have found to do this week:

TV Turn Off-Internet 1.JPG

TV Turn Off-Internet 6.JPG

TV Turn Off-Internet 2.JPG

TV Turn Off- 018.jpg

I've had a blast not watching TV...and the week isn't even over yet! We're playing Twister tonight and Sunday we are going to be creating children's books! Plus, there are so many other things to do...you just have to be a little creative and be willing to TURN OFF THAT TV!

Here's a picture of our Twister night:

And we went to Ohio Pyle to enjoy some of the world's natural beauty:

"Television is more interesting than people. If it were not, we would have people standing in the corners of our rooms." - Alan Corenk

"Don't you wish there were a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence? There's one marked 'Brightness,' but it doesn't work." - Gallagher

"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book." - Groucho Marx

"If it weren't for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we'd still be eating frozen radio dinners." - Johnny Carson

"I think that parents only get so offended by television because they rely on it as a babysitter and the sole educator of their kids." - Trey Parker and Matt Stone

(For more info on TV Turn Off week see my professor's Dr. A's blog or tvturnoff.org)

Posted by LorinSchumacher at April 27, 2006 1:07 PM


WOW! Thanks for sharing these photos and quotes and thoughts! You guys are impressing me like crazy with your dedication to the event, from the T-shirts you wore all week to these fun alternative activities. I'm glad you're avoiding the TV...and discovering how impossible it is to escape in everyday life.

Alan Corenk's quote above is just wonderful. So true. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!

-- Dr. A.

Posted by: Mike Arnzen at April 27, 2006 9:37 PM

I've played Don't Break the Ice, Trouble, Mousetrap, and Play-Doh with my kids. My son (who's 8) rather cleverly noted that giving up TV isn't very hard for me, so he suggested that next week we try "Computer Turn-Off Week."

I haggled him down to "Computer Game Turn-Off Week," though I can also *try* not using the computer when I'm not at work. We'll see how that goes.

Anyway, great entry, Lorin.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at April 27, 2006 11:57 PM

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