Imagine having a very loud neighbor who follows you nto your house, talking nonstop, saying all the things you don't want your kids to hear. Picture this person sitting at dinner with you, showing pictures of corpses and rapists while you're trying to get your children to eat vegetables. Around 8 pm, he starts telling jokes about orgasms and condoms. And this neighbor, who never listens to anyone, spends lots of time trying to sell you something. Most people would kick the guy out in real life, but when the "neighbor" is TV, he is invited in almost every day. The dominance of TV in our society is, to say the least, overwhelming. Studies by the A.C. Nielson Company indícate that over 98% of U.S. households have at least one TV, with 66% having three or more sets. The TV is on for an average of over seven hours a day in many homes with Americanscollectivelywatching over one billion hours a year. More critical evaluations by the American Psychological Association indícate that by the time a person completes high school they have seen200,000violentactsand8,000murders through spending 1,500 hours a year in front of the tube (compared to an average of 900 hours a year in school). According to the Washington Post, 1 7% of the population can name at least three Supreme Court Justices but nearly 60% can name all the Three Stooges. For a number of years now, an organization callee! TV-Free America (TVFA) has called for a complete "boycott" of televisión for one full week a year, with the dates of this year's National TV TurnOff being April 22-28. The event helps move beyond the old discussions about program content. It instead focuses on what TV viewing displaces: creativity, productivity, healthy physical activity, civic engagement, reading, thinking and doing. Indeed, manypeopleparticipating in the boycott have found that after giving up TV for a week, it was easier to turn the set off throughout the year which led to a more constructive.rewarding and healthy lifestyle. Since t's inception, National TVTurnOff Week has attracted over eight million people and the campaign has drawn the endorsements of the American Medical Association, American Psychiatrie Association, American Federation of Teachers, Children's Defense Fund, Literacy Volunteers of America, Presidents Council on Physical Fitness, the YMCA and at least 36 other prominent national zations. One group not endorsing the Turn-Off is the National Association of Broadcasters, whose spokesman Dennis Wharton said "it is questionable whether Americans will want to stop watching compelling programming." Boycotting TV is very easy. Just turn it off and leave it off. To make things easier you may want to place the remóte control in an inconvenient location and place a large towel over the TV set. When the urge to watch comes up, TV-Free America suggests the following: visit the library and check out a book, go to a museum, listen to the radio, climb a tree, fly a kite, go for a bicycle ride, go bird watching, start a garden, enjoy silence, fix something, bake cookies or bread (share with a neighbor), write a letter to the President or a member of Congress, visit a friend or relative, watch the night sky or piay with children. The range of activities is almost endless when in the words of one person, "you are not sitting for hours staring at a piece of furniture known as the TV set." For more information on National TV Turn-Off Weekand TV Free America write the organization at 161 1 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 3A, Washington, D.C. 20009 orcall202887-0436.ATVTurn-OffWeek kit is $10 and a subscription to "The TVFree American" is $20year.
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