NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Join National Turn It Off Week

Join National Turn It Off Week


            April 19-25, National Turn Off TV Week, is a good time to take a look at your family’s screen habits.  Love it or hate, TV is part of American family life. Americans watch three to four hours of TV daily. This time includes watching prerecorded movies, playing video games and surfing the Internet, sometimes simultaneously.

            We undeniably enjoy these activities, which can be relaxing, entertaining and educational. Like too much of any good thing, however, research suggests that the amount of time we spend in front of the screen can have negative consequences.

            Here are some points about TV watching to think about the next time you find yourself flipping through the channels looking for something to watch.


♦ There is no waking activity that people do that burns fewer calories than watching TV. This includes other sedentary activities like playing video games, reading, talking on the phone.

            ♦ The typical youth sees 40,000 advertisements per year on TV alone. Many of them are for foods which are high in calories and low in nutrients like sugary cereals, snack foods and chips.

            ♦ The more TV watched, the more likely youth are to snack between meals, eat foods advertised on TV, and try to influence what foods their parents buy.

            ♦ Children who watch TV at mealtimes eat far fewer fruits and vegetables.

            ♦ Having a television turned on while sleeping, even if the sound is muted, disrupts healthy sleep patterns and contributes to chronic fatigue.

            ♦ Students who watch more than 1-2 hours of television per day are less interested in school activities and have lower academic scores.


What can we do to reduce TV time for ourselves and our children?

      ♦ Limit your child’s screen time (TV, video and computers) to no more than two hours per day as pediatricians recommend.

      ♦ Know what your children, at any age, are watching — whether it's cartoons, sitcoms, sports, news or educational programs. Talk to them about what they’re seeing. Ask open-ended questions.

       ♦ Set a good example yourself, by keeping your own recreational screen time to less than two hours per day.

      ♦ Take television sets out of bedrooms. Yes, this may mean that occasionally family members may not get to watch what they each want. This is a good way to learn about taking turns and negotiating.

       ♦ Turn off the TV during meals and eat together as a family. Practice talking to one another and develop better relationships with one another.

        ♦ Plan TV viewing rather than just automatically plopping down in front of it every night after dinner. Just think of all the activities you might do instead.


         ♦ Develop hobbies and other interests. Get involved in your community, neighborhood, school or place of worship.

         ♦ Play games, especially active ones, with your kids or other adults.

         ♦  Work in your yard or tackle projects in your home that you never have time to do.

         ♦  Read a book, take a class or join a book club.

         ♦  Go out with friends to see a play, attend a concert, go to a movie.


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