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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Turn the TV Off!

Did you know that watching 10 hours of TV a week (or more) is shown to negatively affect academic achievement? It is true, along with other things, like kids who watch TV are more likely to be obese and are exposed to more violence, and kids with TVs in their rooms get lower grades. But wait, it is not the end of the world - there is something you can do about it!

Start talking now with your family about participating in TV-Turnoff Week, April 23-29, 2007! Start by documenting how much TV you actually watch each week, then visit and get the facts about the consequences of watching that much TV. Then, when you are completely aware and mortified, make a list of alternative things you can do during TV-Turnoff Week. Keep talking about it and put it on the calendar!

To make it easier, involve your schools and friends - it is easier if no one is watching TV that week. I guarantee that you will spend more time together as a family and have more fun because of it.

Common Sense Media

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. -Groucho Marx

In many families the television seems to substitute, rather than facilitate dialogue among people. A type of 'fast' in this area could also be healthy. -Pope John Paul II during a speech calling for a 40-day TV-Turnoff

Television is a chewing gum for the eyes. -Frank Lloyd Wright

Given our national television habit, it is no surprise that we are raising the most sedentary and most overweight generation of youngsters in American history. As they grow, these children will run increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems -- unless they turn off the tube and become physically active. -US Surgeon General David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D.

The remarkable thing about television is that it permits several million people to laugh at the same joke and still feel lonely. -T.S. Eliot

Television is no substitute for a parent. It doesn’t help develop language skills; it’s simply background noise. -First Lady Laura Bush

Photo credit: Eric in SF

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.