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Can You Turn Off Your Television?

November 28, 2010

Can you turn off your television?

Turn off my television? Are you crazy?

Can you turn off your television or does just the thought give you . . .

Just the thought gives me that funny little feeling in the pit of my stomach!

When I think about it, I’m amazed that the average American watches over five hours of television a day and that in the average American home, the television is on over eight hours a day.

I’m not a big fan of television. I watch some, but I don’t like being manipulated by bad writers and drama that is more contrived than dramatic and comedy that is more silly than funny*.

I don’t like being at the mercy of the networks who control us, and the sponsors who control the networks, so I try and avoid watching as much television as I can. Yes, I watch a lot of baseball and news shows and I’m a sucker for animal shows and nature and prison documentaries so I log my fair share of hours on the couch, so to clarify, when I say I try and avoid watching television as much as I can, I’m talking about sitcoms and dramas.

I was just reading this article on the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s website which was originally published by the Galveston Daily News titled Is Your Child Watching Too Much TV? and I thought some of the statistics they quoted in the article were interesting. For example:

  • Young people view an estimated 10,000 violent acts each year.
  • Each year, teenagers view nearly 15,000 sexual references, innuendoes and jokes of which less than 170 will deal with abstinence, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy.
  • The so-called family hour of prime time television (between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.) contains more than eight sexual incidents per hour, more than four times as many as in 1976.

I’m not trying to tell anyone how to raise their children or how to live their lives. What other people do is their business and if watching TV is what someone wants to do then that’s what they’ll do. As someone who doesn’t like to watch a lot of TV I just thought the article was interesting.

* It’s all subjective, I know. And I know we all react to, and like, different things.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2010 1:50 pm

    You’ve tapped into something here that I am dealing with now. Just this weekend we were home and the tv was on. I believe a CSI re-run was on the tv with no one in particular watching it…at least that’s what I thought. They showed a body lying in a crime scene being examined and I look over and our two year old is fixated on the tv screen. I actually froze and thought about what she was seeing and what she must by thinking. I know that we need to be better “tv police” with her and we shouldn’t just have it on to have it on. She doesn’t need to see these things.

    Then I had another thought. These shows are originally aired during prime time later evening hours (9pm or 10pm EST) and the networks wouldn’t allow them to be run earlier during prime time and they usually are broadcast with some type of ratings warning. But re-runs aren’t subjected to the same rules. You can turn on your tv any given weekend and see a CSI, Law & Order, etc marathon that runs all day long. Why is that allowed for re-runs? Or I guess what I’m asking is why are there different rules?

    Like

    • Michael Fishman permalink
      November 30, 2010 8:37 am

      I never thought about that before but you’re right. Why don’t the rules that govern what’s on at 8:00 at night apply during the day when kids are more apt to be watching alone? I’m thinking now about all the episodes of Jerry Springer I used to watch during the day and how I wouldn’t a child of mine watching them.

      Like

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