By the HELP Committee and Havre Public Schools for Havre Daily News
This week marks the 10th annual TV-Turnoff Week. TV-Turnoff Week is an event that encourages adults and children to watch less television in order to promote healthier lives and communities. Watching less television allows more time for physical activity and family time.
According to the TV-Turnoff Network, cutting back on television time now can have significant health benefits for adults and for our children. Studies strongly link excessive television watching, one of the least stimulating activities in which we engage, with overweight and obesity, a growing public health epidemic of particular danger to children.
Research also provides clear and compelling evidence that spending too much time with the television can promote aggressive and violent behavior, a link that grows more indisputable with each passing day.
Americans watch nearly four hours of television daily, and American school children watch nearly three hours each day. Children can actually spend more time every year watching TV than they spend in school. Reducing our television consumption can also give us time to engage in other valuable and healthful pursuits, such as sharing time with family and friends, exercising, reading and so on.
TV-Turnoff Week is not only about turning off the television, but it is also about turning on life. TV-Turnoff Week promotes and celebrates a healthy and active lifestyle, and we strongly urge all families and individuals to join us in this important celebration and turn off the TV. TV-Turnoff Week is an event that can and should be used as a springboard to make lasting changes.
Here is a list of ideas to help break free of TV.
Move the television sets to a less prominent location in the home. TV is far less tempting when it is not accessible.
Hide the remote control.
Remove the TV set from your child's bedroom. A television in the bedroom draws children away from family activities and distracts them from homework, thinking, reading and sleeping. In addition, parents may find it difficult to monitor programs that are inappropriate or unhealthy.
Keep the TV off during dinner. Meals are a great time for conversation.
Place clear limits on television viewing. Try to restrict viewing to a half-hour per day or one hour every other evening.
Avoid using TV as a babysitter. Involve children in household activities.
Designate certain days of the week as TV-free days (school nights).
Don't use TV as a reward.
Listen to your favorite music or the radio instead of using TV as background noise.
Cancel your cable subscription. Use the monthly savings to buy a game or a good book.
Don't fret if children claim, "I'm bored!" For children, boredom often leads to creativity.
Don't let the TV become the focal point. Remember what's important: family conversation, exercise, play, reading, creating, thinking and doing.
Consider living without television. Once you're TV-free, you'll wonder how you ever had time to watch so much.
For more information on this or related topics, contact the HELP Committee and Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line at 265-6206.