You and the Tube

Monday, April 23, 2007

Click. Click. Click-click-click.

That's the sound of televisions in your neighborhood and around the country being turned off today, the start of TV-Turnoff Week.

For some kids, going seven days without television might sound like the worst kind of punishment. But for others, turning off the tube and finding different things to do is a fun challenge for the entire family.

TV-Turnoff Week started in 1995 as a way to get people thinking about how much time they spend in front of their TV and computer screens, and how that cuts into time spent with other people.

Encouraging more physical activity is another important goal, said Robert Kesten, who heads the Center for Screen-Time Awareness, which sponsors TV-Turnoff Week. Kesten is a big believer in "participating in life rather than watching others live theirs."

Pediatricians recommend that kids spend no more than one hour a day watching television, using computers and playing video games.

"It limits the amount of time they are active. And the less time you spend moving around, the more excess body weight you can accumulate," said Jessica Lazerov, a pediatrician in Washington. "The more time you spend in front of the TV, the less time you spend reading, writing and doing arts and crafts and sports."

-- Amy Orndorff

© 2007 The Washington Post Company