April 22 - 28: TV Turnoff Week

1 Conversation

Below is an excerpt from the White Dot website - it states some reasons to join in the Turnoff.

Last April 5 million people switched off.

Get out of the box for a week!

Every time your turn it on, your television is giving you these messages:
"You are boring"

"The people you know are stupid."

"The things you yourself could do are second rate"

"Thank God you have television to bring glamour

and professional entertainment into your life!"

Not only are these messages insulting, but study after study have shown that television is hurting the quality of our lives. There are many good arguments for getting rid of television altogether.

TV is bad for kids!

It isn't stimulating or educational. Many of the people who support the TV-Turnoff are teachers. They've seen first hand how it kills creativity and disrupts concentration. TV causes delayed acquisition of speech in very young children and is being studied for possible links to attention deficit disorder - a condition which has spread widely since the introduction of television into British homes. TV has been linked to heart disease and depression. And far from relaxing you, TV actually raises stress levels. It makes you lethargic, unhappy and unable to concentrate for hours after watching.

TV is bad for democracy!

A study by Roger Putnam at Harvard University revealed that generations of people after 1950 have stopped participating. They know less and join in less. From bowling clubs to national politics, people are staying home and doing nothing. The study isolated a single cause for this erosion of social capital: television.

Join the International TV-Turnoff!

Have you ever gone away on holiday without television? Then you've already done a TV Turnoff. Maybe you missed a show here or there. But you found it surprisingly easy. Pretty soon you were more involved with the things you yourself could do than you were the things people on TV pretend to do. And when you came back home, the television seemed a bit alien. You'd forgotten how it demands attention. Sitting around watching seemed less fun.

Even if you just want to be a "discerning viewer", remember that there's a whole industry of highly paid, well educated people whose job it is to see that you don't discern. They get paid to keep you sitting there - no matter what's on. That's why the best way to moderate your viewing is to stop watching entirely for a while. It will give you a chance to see how much TV you really need.

You'll also get a chance to rediscover your own life: you are interesting. Your friends are worth knowing, and the things you do are more important than the things you watch others do on television.

The TV Turnoff is great for kids.

Children don't like TV. They watch it because they're bored. And television just encourages them to stay bored and keep watching. The TV-Turnoff gives children back their natural creativity. Here's a teacher from one of the 25,000 schools that participated last year:

"Kids get excited at how easy they find not-watching.

If at the end of the day they haven't watched TV, there's such pride."

Okay, so maybe I don't hold such extreme views as White Dot. But then they would hold strong views, as they want to eradicate TV entirely. I don't, but I do know I spend too much time staring at it - and, indeed, wasting my time away on this thing. So, turn it off - go on! It's only for a week, and you will begin to do more, and the less you watch, the less you will want to watch. Who care's if you miss your 'favourite' programmes? It's only TV after all - isn't it?

Go on. How hard can it be? Eh? Not addicted, are you?

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