Welcome to TV Turnoff week: the week where you elect to turn off your TV for 7 days, and find other stuff – stuff that’s good for your brain – to do.
Ever since my son was born, I have found myself watching less and less TV; we are down to 1-1 1/2 hours a week now. One large reason is him – my husband and I subscribe to the AAP research that says children under 2 should not watch TV. We have been known to watch it while holding him faced away from the TV, but even that’s rare. We’re too busy doing other things – playing with fingers and toes, pulling the sheets on and off our heads, changing diapers, being SO BIG! and practicing petting Doggie Hurley and Kitty Taylor. Now that the weather is getting nicer here, we will be out in the stroller, in the backyard, and may even move the bouncy chair near the garden so that Mom and Dad can dig in the dirt, and Jameson can observe. As you may be able to see from the impish look on my son’s face, he’s not a sedentary kid. He needs to constantly be in motion – most pictures of him include some level of blur. Even if we did put him in front of the TV, I can see that buying us 3 minutes – max. He’d shortly be taking apart the remote and eating the batteries, and no one wants that.
It’s actually kind of nice not watching TV. True, I can’t be part of office discussions or pools (American Idol comes to mind), and I don’t really have a grasp of current programming. I get my news from NPR and the web, and that’s all I really need. To be fair, though, I’m not the reason for TV Turnoff Week. Kids are.
Although the website’s not really fancy, the folks behind TV Turnoff Week have a simple, but great idea going. Turn off your TV for a full week. Do something else with that time. What’s the downside? You learn new activities? You spend face-to-face time? You play a non-electronic (gasp!) board game? YES. DO IT. If you don’t like it, you can always turn the TV back on again after 7 days of trying. The website even has a list of possible activities in which to partake, in case you are just sitting around awkwardly staring at the people in your house that you’ve avoided this long.
Another idea is turning off the phone and computer – truly a technology “sabbatical,” if you will, but that’s harder because of school, work and obtaining valued information (I’m thinking bank statements, weather reports, reading ChalkBlog…you get the picture). I find myself taking weekends off of Facebook so I can remind myself that my life neither depends on nor is made truly more interesting seeing every little status update and cute picture. What an interesting lesson for kids, too – a great challenge. It certainly teaches delayed gratification, if nothing else.
Who’s with me? Are you gonna do it? Are you gonna challenge your students to do it?