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Turning Off the TV

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Robert Kesten
Executive Director of TV-Turnoff Network
Monday, April 24, 2006; 11:00 AM

How much television do your kids watch each week? What effect could too much TV have on them? And how much is too much?

Robert Kesten, executive director of TV-Turnoff Network, was online Monday, April 24, at 11 a.m. ET to examine the impact that "turning off the TV" could have on children and to field questions and comments about "TV-Turnoff Week," which begins Monday, April 24.

TV-Turnoff Network is an international non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. The Network is focused on empowering people to use technology responsibly and encouraging people to take time for themselves, their families and their communities -- even though it means turning the television, computer and game screens off. TV-Turnoff Network is best known for its annual campaign, TV-Turnoff Week, now in its 12th year.

The transcript follows.

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Robert Kesten: Good morning and thank you for joining me on the first day of TV-Turnoff Week.
This is our 12th annual Turnoff...and we are in all 50 States, here in DC and in about 20 countries around the world, from Mexico to South Korea.
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Washington, D.C.: I do not have children, but advocate having almost no TV for children or adults. I know from my friends in the TV industry that that they do not let their children watch TV. Yet all my friends say, "How can I stop my kids from watching TV - you must be crazy?" This is the standard response. I then ask my friends a simple question - are you the parent or a door mat? Isn't it your responsibility to raise your children to the very best of your ability? I find it shocking and sad that most parents just don't have the impetus to actually do what is best for their children. My stepsister raised her two daughters without a TV in the house. When I tell people this they ask - what did the kids do instead? They read books. By the way the daughters grew up just fine - with masters degrees and both are happily married. What can we do to encourage people to turn off their TVs?

Robert Kesten: The only thing we can do is empower people to make educated choices. Once people know the facts they are more inclined to give this a try.
We are currently working on an International-Screen-Reduction-Plan that will help people and communities find ways to reduce screen-time and explore ways to get more involved in the important things in their lives.

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Washington, D.C.: My son absolutely loves whales. He will talk at length with his friends about the differences between Minke whales, sperm whales, grey whales, blue whales, etc. We don't have the finances to go jetting off to Alaska and the south pole to see these whales. Why should we take away our son's love of nature by turning off the TV? Education is for more than just the wealthy! Do you really think we have $10,000 sitting around for a whale watching cruise every month?

Robert Kesten: No one wants to stop you son from learning, or from watching whales. What we want you to do is not allow him to do it for hours and hours and hours. The fact is that children are spending upwards of 4-7 hours a day in front of a screen...that is unhealthy.
Doctors recommend no more than 1-2 hours of overall screen-time per day..we think everyone can live with that

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Manassas, Va.: When my daughter was very young I decided I didn't want her to watch TV. I had to give it up too as I couldn't expect her to go along otherwise. It was harder for me of course. I truly loved TV. She's now 13 with a great imagination, good grades, a love for reading, writing and music and she does not miss TV. We do watch DVD's though, just no cable or network TV. We don't want TV back on in the house as we both know it would take away from all the things we like to do.

The smartest thing I ever did (for both of us) was turn off the TV.

Robert Kesten: As you know, this is a personal decision, one that everyone should make for themselves...but the time we invest in front of a screen is time we take away from all other aspects of our lives.
Thank you for your comments.

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Burke, Va.: Hi Robert,

My children are grown and don't live at home anymore with the exception of my daughter when she's not at college. When they were younger, I packed up the TV for about 6 months thinking it would make us closer etc.. It didn't. In the evening, the kids pretty much headed off to their rooms. It was finally my wife who wanted and brought the TV back. While I agree that TV, like everything, has to be used with moderation, just packing it up isn't necessarily the answer to all a family's problems.

Robert Kesten: You are correct, it takes more than getting rid of one of the screens in our lives to make a family interactive.
One thing people do across the country is have a family game night...get out those board games, a deck of cards...or they find some other activity that every one can join in.
There are many ways to get to know the important people in your life.

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Alexandria, Va.: I have a 7-month-old son and do not want him watching any TV. My husband is a TV goon and this is causing many fights in our family. He says our son isn't paying attention since he watches news or other non-kid shows, but I've seen him (the baby) arch his back to watch the lights/colors. I'm well versed in the recommendations that kids under 2 shouldn't watch TV.

Any ideas on how I can drive this home to my hubby?

(He says that he is stressed after work and needs to veg out. I'm stressed after work and only turn on the TV if there is something I want to watch).

Thanks

Robert Kesten: For one thing, encourage your husband to watch in your room, or in a place where your son isn't. Then find ways to get the entire family to do something together...so that you start to build those important bonds with your son.
Maybe your husband could find reading a short children's book to your son more relaxing than he thinks.
Watching news, especially in the world today, is not very relaxing! And it is not good for children.

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Arlington, Va.: My wife and I are raising our 15 month old and haven't had to worry about television yet. My biggest problem is her. She has the TV on all the time, even when she's busy doing something else. How can I get her to turn it off so that our son doesn't get sucked in to watching a lot of garbage whose real aim is to target him for advertising?

Robert Kesten: You have to talk with her...first step, when you sit down to talk...make sure the television is off.
Then find things that she likes to do, outside the house, and do it, start once a week and then find other things around the house that interest all of you. It is a way to explore together...once the set is off for a while she will find she doesn't miss it so much.

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Washington, D.C.: More of a comment than a question. One of the best things my parents did for me and my brothers was to not have a TV in the house. What did we do? - Read, play outside, musical instruments, board games (ie social interaction), bike, hike, camp, etc., etc. Almost 30 years later, none of us have one in the house. Who has the time? There is so much out there to do.

Robert Kesten: Thank you...

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McLean, Va.: What is wrong with letting my kids watch 2 hours of TV a day during weekdays and 4 hours during the weekend? My wife and I talk with them while getting them ready for daycare. We discuss their activities when they get home. We play with them and the neighbor's kids for about an hour, eat dinner with them, and let them watch TV which helps my wife and I unwind from a hard day's work. More TV allows us to do the chores that they cannot help with . . .

Robert Kesten: Watching some television, or other screen-time is not the total issue. Even the medical profession says that some television is okay, it is when it stops them, or you, from doing other things.
Maybe instead of playing with them for just an hour, and allowing them television for two hours, you try reversing that...at least once per week...and 4 hours on the weekend, maybe could become a little less, and you could find other things for them to do that would still allow you to take care of your chores.

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Washington, D.C.: I am at odds at whether to turn off my TV when it comes to my four-year-old. He watches an hour of cartoon in the afternoon, after school, and about 30 minutes in the mornings. Other than that, he may be in the room playing while I watch the morning shows (Today, Good Morning America, etc.) and he has either picked up or recognizes certain things he sees in school like the planets during a report on NASA that launches us into a conversation about that...or diet, where we wind up talking about his favorite foods and why junk food isn't good for him. I've noticed, as have others, that he has a wide vocabulary and interest in a lot of things. I am not saying TV is the sole reason, but in my case, it's been a great facilitator in some areas. Your thoughts?

Robert Kesten: The fact is that talking with him, reading to him and getting him out in the world, the local library, could do more...but television is not all bad, it just has to be limited, so he can be a child!

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Washington, D.C.: I live alone and I find myself having the TV on for company. I lived three years in college without one and I found that I didn't need one. TV watching became a social event for me when I would go to a classmate's room across the hall to watch. Today I find myself watching despite that rationally I know what I am seeing is crud. How do I wean myself off?

Robert Kesten: Volunteer for an organization that means something to you...you have to get out in the world and then the television won't be such a good friend. People who live alone use it as a sitter, very much the same way as some parents use it for their children.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Many Baby Boomers were reared with daily television, but limited amounts of it. No cable or latenight TV for them. However, they in turn exposed their children to unlimited TV and Gen X has continued this trend. We're seeing the effects of it with kids (now adults) that cannot problem solve, or handle adversity, or live independently once they're 23+. What's your feedback on this reality?

Robert Kesten: Scientists and doctors find that there are some great limitations due to excess screen time...information is clear, we have to be aware of what is happening to us mentally and physically.

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Qatar: Hello Robert,

It looks like TV-Turnoff has been subtly changing its message over the past few years to focus less on junking the TV and more on responsible use of technology. Could you give me your mission statement - as you see it now - in a nutshell? Also, I've seen some pretty nasty reactions to your work...why do you think people are so offended by the idea of watching less TV?

Thanks!

Robert Kesten: Our basic mission is to empower people to take control of the technology in their lives and not let it control them.
The reason we get attacked sometimes is that no one likes to think they are doing something that might be harmful...especially parents of young children.

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Indpls, Ind.: Due to lack of money when my daughter was little 0-3 years, we had no functioning television in the house. Instead I read to her a lot and we interacted in other ways, such a playing outside together. As an underprivileged minority child of a single mother, she has grown up to a bright and intelligent young lady, excels in her studies and has been granted nearly a full ride scholarship to college. I have often credited those years of 'poverty' and no TV to the correct development of her brain. Just my opinion..

Robert Kesten: Sorry about the poverty, but brava to your sense of responsibility.

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Blacksburg, Va. We have two daughters, 2 and 4. We recently made the decision to limit their TV to 1-2 hours per week (basically, one movie a week). The girls complained about it at first but now they have stopped asking for it altogether. They play better now and are better at entertaining themselves. When they do watch TV now they frequently walk away and start playing with something else.

I think that playing is a learned skill, and something that TV can inhibit. Turning off the TV has made a huge difference for us!

Robert Kesten: Thank you, I agree and implemented that kind of thinking with you own children.

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Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: I like the idea of Turn Off TV Week, but wonder what you think of this: We have pretty strict TV rules. No TV on school nights, a DVD or sporting event on the weekend. (And no TV in the morning -- ever.) We have a few exceptions for TV on school nights: Sporting championships, historic events, like presidential debates, Jeopardy once or twice a month, provided homework is done. This year's Turn Off TV Week falls during the NBA playoffs. I want to let my son watch tomorrow's Wizards game, but I also want his teachers and librarian to know we support limited TV viewing. What do you say that - not my personal situation per se, but the idea of completely turning off the TV this week when the TV's not on very much to begin with?

Robert Kesten: I think it is great to turn it off during Turnoff Week and leave it off...if there is something important, like in Mexico they have Presidential debates this week...
Suggestion, listen on the radio, together...or tape it for next week.

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Philadelphia, Pa.: Have you found that moms (or dads!) that stay at home with their kids are more likely to turn off the TV?

Robert Kesten: The average American home has the television on for 8 hours and 40 minutes per day...I don't know if anyone turns it off.

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Bethesda, Md.: Thank you, Mr. Kesten for your work and efforts on this matter.

I have 3 sons (16, 10 and 8) and have relinquished my relationship with Comcast of Mont. County, for a "cable less" household. We have a "no-screens" during the week rule that only allows Internet use during the week for educational purposes. We of course can still receive most local air channels.

Grades and the amount of reading have increased significantly over the last 6 months. Homework is completed in a more time-efficient manner than before. I can't count the number of books that my sons, my youngest in particular, have selected and completed voluntarily.

I think that children will adjust once parents adjust. (Yes I am missing HGTV and Lifetime -- but it's worth it.) Some TV shows are available on DVD through Netflix.

To the Washingtonian with the son that is interested in whales, I highly recommend a library card and subscriptions to Netflix (www.netflix.com)and Cosmeo (www.cosmeo.com). Her son can surely be able to satisfy his thirst for science through books, DVDs/videos available through those cost-effective, family friendly sources.

Robert Kesten: Thank you very much

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Baltimore, Md.: This is a comment: I am a Kindergarten teacher and I "do" TV Turnoff Week with my kids every year. I was shocked at the reaction this year. Children were crying. One child said, "I think I'm going to die without television." Needless to say I was speechless. One problem I find is that its often the parents who do not support turning off the television for a week.

Robert Kesten: You are correct...it is hard to be a child in 2006, but very hard to be a parent and neither are going to get easier. This is a big responsibility, but one we agree to when we become parents.
We hope that providing information gives people a better way to make choices in their lives.

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Vienna, Va.: We find that watching educational programs, such as PBS' and Disney channel, helps our children learn. The trick is to know when enough is enough. Luckily, our children seems to stop watching when they've had enough. Of course, sometimes they can't tell. There seems to be so many mindless programs that we hope our children will never watch.

For busy parents who can't spend 100 percent of our time doing activities with our children, the TV is definitely a blessing. We wish that we didn't have to worry out making a living so that we can lots more time with the children.

Robert Kesten: The medical profession suggest 1 to 2 hours of overall screen time at max per day (less is more).
This includes TV, computer and games.

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Rockville, Md.: What do you think about children's TV networks like PBS Sprout, or Disney?

Robert Kesten: They are tools for selling things...that is their number one reason for being.

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For McLean, Va.: You asked why kids shouldn't watch TV for 2 hours a day so you can get chores done? Why not turn off the TV and let the kids entertain themselves? The kids should be able to play by themselves -- it's good for them and encourages creativity. One thing that worked for us in transitioning the kids from TV was to turn on kids' music that they could dance to or run around with. Kids will never learn to entertain themselves if every minute of their lives are programmed.

Robert Kesten: Thank you, great answer.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: Could you give us a link to the "scientists and doctors" who have studied the effects of excess "screen time?"

How much "screen time" is excessive? Have these "scientists and doctors" investigated television compression devices like DVR, TiVO, and DVD that compress a normal hour-long show into 40 minutes and bypass commercials?

Isn't is important for kids to stay current with their peers, and not live in a vacuum with only a few hours of exposure to television that every other kid is receiving in much higher doses?

I would say that many parents are irresponsible in exposing their kids to too much television, especially age inappropriate material, but is TV really scientifically and medically as bad as you're making it out to be?

Robert Kesten: For the very young, it literally changes the way the brain develops. The studies at the University Of Washington have shown this with brain scans.
The Kaiser Family Foundation found that programs like baby Einstein, not only don't help, but probably hurt young children.
Check our Web site for some additional information:
www.tvturnoff.org

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Atlanta, Ga.: we're raising a 9 and 7 year-old without a TV in the house (we've never had one) and we're all doing great! What we do have is a small monitor where we can play videos and we have "family movie night" three evenings out of 7. the rest of the time, no TV...we worried a little bit that our kids wouldn't have successful playdates without a TV but other kids don't seem to mind at all. If anything, they prefer our house because there's a lot going on. And we're all amazing card players (the kids have even learned blackjack & 21 so we're bringing them very successfully down the path of decay even without a TV. :)

Robert Kesten: Sounds great

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Waterford, Va.: Hi There Robert, What about the mothers whose kids love to rough-house inside on a rainy day when we're just trying to get the bills paid? I am a HUGE advocate of turning the TV off but some days I am so grateful that I have one to help me get my young boys to sit down and stay out of trouble ... Sometimes a book just won't do. Any thoughts here?

Robert Kesten: There are games to play, since books won't always do it for boys...sometimes listening to music, even for young kids can get them to focus.
Friends houses can help when possible...so there are any number of ways and things that can be done...set up the basement (if you have one) for them to tumble around in without being under foot.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Out of curiosity, do you have any guidelines on Internet usage/video games, etc.? That seems to be as big a problem as television.

And I hope some of the other chatters can come off their high horses a bit. I grew up watching television regularly, but I also managed to be active in Girl Scouts, make honor roll, travel, play musical instruments, perform in theater, read, etc. Mr. Kesten, you seem to have a healthy attitude about the balance of technology and other activities.

Robert Kesten: Screen time is screen time. Same goes for recreational use of the computer...overall screen time should be kept to an hour or two (or less) per day.
Parents really need to know what their children are doing on the Internet!

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Washington, D.C.: Do you believe there are substantial differences between TV time and screen time in general? Most of your responses talk about limiting screen time overall, but many questioners focus on TV only. Should we single out TV?

Robert Kesten: We should not single out TV, however, it is the most passive and that is one reason it stands out so much.

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Arlington, Va.: I'd like to echo the words of the person in DC who grew up without a TV -- my sister and I (22 and 24 respectively) also grew up without a TV in our house. Although we complained a bit at the time, we also found many, many other ways to occupy our time. These days, we're both BORED by TV. We'd RATHER read, or even just do NOTHING, than sit staring at the TV, which is not just boring but often depressing! People who tell me they just don't like to read laugh when I say I just don't like to watch TV...but being entertained by TV is a "skill" (?) I'm grateful I never picked up.

Robert Kesten: Thanks

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Arlington, Va.: My son doesn't watch TV on the weekdays, and only for two hours on weekends (he's three) while my husband and I clean our apartment. We're very careful about what he watches, but he has classmates whose parents allow them to watch violent cartoons, we don't approve of. So recently he's come home talking about guns, and power rangers, etc. Not quite sure how to handle it since we thought by not letting him watch TV we wouldn't have to worry about these things at such a young age.

Robert Kesten: Personally, I have told my children's friends parents what we allow and don't allow. I have told my boys that they will not be able to go to certain homes if those wishes are not respected.
You cannot protect them from everything, but they have to know how you feel and why...three is a bit young to get that, but the other parents should respect your wishes.

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Burlington, Vt.: It seems to me that more emphasis should be placed on the quality of television watched. I do worry that my kids watch too much but have found it much easier to steer their viewing habits to quality programming than to eliminate viewing entirely. Our teenagers loved Sesame Street and Mr. Rodgers as small children and now are quite happy to watch Masterpiece Theatre. My biggest concern with TV is too much of shows like "CSI", which seems to me excessively violent and exploitative. Yes, limit viewing time but also monitor what they choose to see very carefully.

Robert Kesten: The reality is, that time is as big a factor, if not more than content.
One hour or less of violence will not have a great impact...but four hours of mind numbing bable will take its toll.
Yes there are great things on, and you should not have any problem watching them, but remember to limit that time and live your life, don't watch someone else live theirs.

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Alexandria, Va.: By suggesting to parents to turn off the TV, shouldn't they also turn off the computer, the mp3 player, the stereo, and any other form of entertainment device?

Sounds pretty absurd to me. Don't you think it's far more important for parents and kids to be together as a family, whether it be in front of a television, or whatever, than just having parents turn of the TV and tell the kids to find something creative to do?

I would agree that many parents rely on the TV to be their babysitter, and children become far to reliant on television for creativity and learning. However, TV is not such a bad tool when parents watch with their kids. I would much rather watch 2-3 hours of Discovery Channel or History Channel with my children then send them off to their room to play on their computer or listen to music while playing with toys.

Robert Kesten: Technology is technology...spending time talking, reading and interacting with your children is different.
Certainly you can watch with them and it might be fun for all, but it is even more fun to play catch, go to a concert, play tennis...and the list goes on.

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NW Washington, D.C.: What's the scientific foundation of the 1-2 hour recommendation? What makes the television medium unhealthy and the paper medium healthy?

Or do they have a similar recommendation for a child reading alone in their bedroom?

Robert Kesten: Reading stimulates parts of the brain...for the most part TV viewing does not.
TV is a visual image, reading encourages the brain to make pictures, therefore developing very important synapse development.
One big reason for the 1-2 hour limits suggested is that people need to be physical for at least 60 minutes per day, they need to have live contact with others...and lets not forget the mental-health need to just day-dream!

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Scarsdale, N.Y.: Are "Family Guy" and "South Park" appropriate viewing for a mature 13 year-old boy?

Thanks.

Robert Kesten: Probably not...but that is not for me to say on this side of the computer. There certainly are better ways for them to spend their time.

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Severna Park, Md.: "They are tools for selling things...that is their number one reason for being."

Thank you SO much for your answer - this is a problem more today than it ever was before! I think this whole argument boils down to the fact that a parent's job is to raise a well-rounded child, and too much TV takes away from that.

Robert Kesten: Thanks

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Gaithersburg, Md.: It seems you're showing the gloom and doom scenario here, and the effect of TV and media on the children of irresponsible parents.

You had previously referenced the KFF as a source for information about the impact of educational media on our children. However, a recent release (December 2005) seems to indicate that many of the educational tools (Leapster, Baby Einstein, Sesame Street, etc) seem to improve kids' ability to learn and reason (kff.org/entmedia/upload/7427.pdf). The paper also indicates that the average child from 3-6 only watches about an hour of TV per day.

So what's the problem? Do you have a gripe with entertainment companies profiting from educational materials? If modern media are so bad for kids, why are kids getting smarter and smarter, learning far more than their parents ever did?

Robert Kesten: The truth is that the USA is falling, each year our scores compared the rest of the industrialized world on standardized tests is going down.
It is not only Kaiser's latest study that shows that those programs for the very young have NO scientific evidence of success, but can be harmful...this is the finding of U of Washington and Harvard.
Even the CDC and NIH are very concerned.
I don't believe in the gloom and doom, I believe in being informed and being active...I believe in empowerment and using the technology to help us, not run our lives.
As for the time in front of the screen, the Neilson Ratings says that children are up to over 4 hours a day of television viewing alone, before the games and computer.
Everyone has their own numbers...the fact is we are fatter, lazier than before...we can make a difference, but people have to make their own decisions.
As for those companies making money, that is what they are here for, they are doing a great job! We just have to recognize that for them it is a job...a business and that they have to reward their stock holders.

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Alexandria, Va.: I don't think its very feasible to try to separate the technological aspects of our lives. I agree that the content and level of television watching should be monitored to an extent, I think about how much is done through monitors today. Classes are taught via TVs. Television is watched online. Kids can now download their favorite television shows onto iPods and handheld devices. Portable DVD players are almost a must!

How do you suggest a parent of a teenage child make any attempt to lower the time spent in front of a monitor, as small as it may be?

Robert Kesten: The best way is to get them involved in something they like, a sport, as volunteers, in a club or community activity. Give them things to do that keep them active and alive.

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Ann Arbor, Mich.: We certainly limit TV for our two children (5 and 2) to about 5 hours/week (2 movies/DVDs). My older child has commented that she doesn't know what other children are talking about with respect to TV characters and such. Though I'm sure many of the people in this forum will talk at length as adults about the benefits of no television, I worry that a child these days will feel left out which is a very lonely feeling in grade school.

Our solution thus far has been to find books and games that use the same popular characters. It won't change our stance on television, but I don't think it's as easy socially as many in this forum would like to believe.

Do you have any other suggestions?

Robert Kesten: Some people find this a problem, others don't. There is so much information out there about these characters almost everyone knows who they are even if you have never seen the program.
Also, most young children play when together...the talk of television, although it happens, is not really that important in their lives. Keep it that way.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I think the main reason to give up TV is become every show is about selling you something, which is predicated on the idea that there is something wrong with you or your life the way it is now. Who needs to be bombarded with that message every day?

Robert Kesten: Thanks

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New York, N.Y.: What suggestions do you have to help me wean my 10 year-old daughter from her TV love/addiction, and to encourage alternate activities. Her screen time is limited to two hours per week day however; on weekends she's up at dawn watching her favorite Disney and Nick shows. I think TV provides a useful release from her busy school/sports/after school schedule. It's too bad for her that reading is a real "chore" and she has a very short attention span for other independent home activities. Thanks.

Robert Kesten: Look at our Web site for information
www.tvturnoff.org

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Fairfax, Va.: The problem as far as I'm concerned is not how much television kids watch but the content. My father employs several parental restrictions and rating blocks on our television. He is very severe if any of my sisters are caught watching something "inappropriate", and this is what parents should do. They need to monitor what their children watch and help their children learn to choose the right programs...

Robert Kesten: Children need to be active, screen-time is passive..it is that simple

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Amsterdam, N.Y.: I support your goals, is there anything I can do to further your goals?

Robert Kesten: YES...feel free to contact us
rkesten@tvturnoff.org
or
202-333-9220

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1-2 hours for adults?: Hello!

I'm reading all the questions and answers and think this is a great conversation. I'm concerned about adults, though. I know in my job, I average about 6-8 hours a day in front of the computer. I assume this counts as "screen-time." I'd love to break away and only sit in front of the computer 1-2 hours, but then I'd be out of work. Is this time frame more focused on the physiological damages that sitting comatose in front of a computer/TV can do, or the physical damage (eye strain, etc.)? Thanks!

Robert Kesten: That is why I keep saying recreational computer use...we all have to make a living!

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Alexandria, Va.: Can we get out of the 20th century here?

Parents have so many tools to help educate their children, and we should not be limited by some "so-called" experts. In the end, we as parents have to raise our children to be successful in life, and if that means exposing them to as much technology as possible, then so be it.

The first years of a kid's life is the most important in learning, and as parents, we need to expose our kids to as much as possible be it television programs, books, museums, computers, etc. Limiting any one educational resource could mean failure!

Robert Kesten: Thanks

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Germantown, Md.: If television doesn't stimulate the brain like reading does, then why should computer use be limited? Use of the computer requires a lot of reading, just like a book, so why is computer use considered "screen time" that should be avoided?

Robert Kesten: You get sucked in to the computer...it keeps you from live interaction and it eats up time. Do it certainly, but do other things as well.

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Vienna, Va.: It seems that the people who submit comments here don't let their kids watch TV irresponsibly. Who are the parents that let the TV be a baby-sitter? Do they belong to a certain social economic group? How do you reach out to those parents?

Robert Kesten: It is hard to reach everyone, but we continue to try by involving communities in the process.
This year the state of Oklahoma and the City of Stamford, CT have become Turnoff Week locations...everyone from the governor, mayor and chamber of commerce are working towards screen-time-reduction plans.

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Robert Kesten: Unfortunately our time is up. Thank you all...and remember this, the people you watch on the screen are getting paid. Most of them don't watch it, they would rather be on it than sit down and watch. They also get paid very well to lead lives on the screen...we should take the time to lead our lives off the screen.

Thank you all for your time.
Robert Kesten
rkesten@tvturnoff.org
www.tvturnoff.org

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