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www.tvSmarter.com – Life in a TV Nation

2010 Spring Turn-off Week April 19-25

15 Comments


Play II

Originally uploaded by ali khurshid

According to the latest Kaiser study (released Jan 2010)

http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/8010.pdf

Children 8-18 are spending, on average:

(From Page 2)

4:29 hours per day watching TV
4:54 hours per day watching TV/movies
7:38 hours per day plugged into media (TV, movies, music, computer, video games, print)

These statistics mind-boggling, 7:37 hours plugged into media, of which almost 5 hours per day are spent watching TV/movies. Children are being systematically turned into addicts.

And are you addicted? One way to find out is to take a one week break. If you find it impossible, then you’ll have your answer. Even one week of media reduction is an important step forward.

For some inspiration read “Readers Respond: Is Turnoff Week A Good Idea or Is It Nobody’s Business But Yours?”

http://childrensbooks.about.com/u/ua/forparents/turnoff_yes_no.htm?from=lb

Not sure what to do? For some great inspiration see:

http://www.insteadoftv.com/

http://unplugyourkids.com/

As with every year, this event is being sponsored by The Center for Screen-Time Awareness.

http://www.screentime.org

Unfortunately, because of the economic crisis they have had their budget splashed massively with consequently a huge reduction in activities.

If you would like to make a donation to support this very important endeavor, please write a check to:

Center for SCREEN-TIME Awareness
and send it to: PO Box 312
South Salem, NY 10590

For some excellent suggestions, see Screen Free Week by the incomparable Unplug Your Kids

Not sure if this is important or not? Read “Playtime Is Over” by Dr. By DAVID ELKIND, a sobering piece on the effects of lots and lots of media and little play on kids today.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/27/opinion/27elkind.html

Update: here’s an excellent article in Adbusters, The End of Childhood: Children who spend more time inside than in the wilderness experience poorer health in adulthood. We must let them roam free.

https://www.adbusters.org/magazine/78/end_of_childhood.html

15 thoughts on “2010 Spring Turn-off Week April 19-25

  1. Thanks for writing about this!

    The future is here, and it is engineering us.

    I am not surprised, but I am really, really concerned with this latest statistics of media usage. I am not really sure what is going on, but it is huge. I am not joking here, when I often think that part of humanity is moving closer and closer to truly becoming “Borg” cybernetic humans, that are incapable of existing without being attached to some electronic device… Every time I see people with their head-set phone devices chatting away as they walk down the street…

    Maybe part of this awareness comes from that there is actually a commercial motivation and desire to develop the always connected human reality. Had a conversation with a mobile phone engineer in 1996, and was informed that their company was working on, at the time, a cell phone device that could be implanted inside the brain…

    I know all about the negative aspects of perpetual connection to media, but out of needing to comprehend to growth patterns of media usage, I have to question what are the positive cultural/conscious potential and needs for being connected 24/7…

    And why, do people feel this powerful need to be connected via long distance electronic tele-communications constantly. Maybe, is it because they prefer hearing external information, and are not capable, or do not want to hear internal information…?

    Maybe we are sort of creating a new profession coaching careers in, “How to escape the devices…” I am actually not joking here, because it seems much more than relevant for those that want to unplug from their media addictions, if they really want to unplug, maybe they should be charged for the lessons…?

    Like

    • Hi Chris

      “And why, do people feel this powerful need to be connected
      via long distance electronic tele-communications constantly.
      Maybe, is it because they prefer hearing external information,
      and are not capable, or do not want to hear internal information…?”

      Yeah, typical addiction process. Electronic stimulation to
      provide relief from a little bit of boredom, and then repeat over and
      over again until any kind of regular life without electronic stimulation
      becomes unbearably boring.

      “Maybe we are sort of creating a new profession coaching careers in,
      “How to escape the devices…” I am actually not joking here, because it
      seems much more than relevant for those that want to unplug from their
      media addictions, if they really want to unplug, maybe they should be
      charged for the lessons…?”

      Well I would love it if more “life coaches” and psychologists included
      less TV (or no TV) as part of the therapy suggestions, especially since
      it really would be effective for increasing happiness and connection.
      As for specific coaches for device escape, that might be more time
      coming. Or maybe not, I did read somewhere about a camp in the U.S.
      for video game addicts to go cold turkey.

      Electronic-free summer camps and/or retreats (for adults) might
      also be a viable solution…

      Let’s hope !

      Terry

      Like

      • >Electronic-free summer camps and/or retreats (for adults) might also be a viable solution…

        Reading camps…

        Actually, activities that encourage quiet reflection have been on my radar as classes for about ten plus years. Even tried one at a community college one year, but people were not ready for it. But a camp, would actually be a lot of fun…!

        Like

  2. Again, thank you again for finding and posting this study from the Kaiser Foundation. Just finished a first look at it, and it was an eyeful. It is incredibly insightful, and quite disturbing at the same time.

    I will keep this short because I am not sure how to completely respond upon it, but one personally disturbing trend was that of all the categories of media use measured, reading printed material has continued to go down over the past five years. This sets off all sorts of alarms for a lot of reasons, but like I said in the previous post, communication is changing radically and the technology is engineering us. As someone who has been in the marketing realm, the way we get our ideas shared, and gather knowledge is entering a new territory. I don’t completely know what to make of this territory and how it will impact both the receivers and senders of information. Seriously though, and I cringe in even thinking this, because this may be why the realm of critical thinking and reasoning, that does take more than ample amounts of reading print type of communications is resembling immature chaos on our national level. People have become more receptive to auditory televised fabricated sound information bytes that preclude them from having to wrestle with cognitive thought formations of their own. Which on one level answers why rational reasoning can be so seemingly non-existent at times, and some members of our political society are so willing to grab onto lies posed as truths because they are losing their capacity to actually be literate. Yet they are very capable of becoming message mimics, that are easily manipulated.

    Literacy has been a big issue for me for the past ten years, because cultures that do not read, and read intently will essentially be enslaved to the message makers. Not a good place to be.

    Like

    • Hey Chris

      Beautifully put, and I agree with you 100%.

      I especially like this part:

      “People have become more receptive to auditory televised
      fabricated sound information bytes that preclude them from
      having to wrestle with cognitive thought formations of their
      own. Which on one level answers why rational reasoning can
      be so seemingly non-existent at times, and some members of
      our political society are so willing to grab onto lies posed
      as truths because they are losing their capacity to actually
      be literate.”

      It’s depressing, I’ll read about a particularly dumb comment
      or argument, and think well at least that’s too dumb to be
      persuasive, and then a poll will come out showing that, no
      actually it wasn’t too dumb. That indeed a substantial percentage
      of the population agrees with it.

      Terry

      Like

      • It is depressing and rather scary. As I am watching the growing storm of people taking the “Stupid Pill” lately I get nagging worries, that under the right set of unusual circumstances and or freak circumstances prior to 2012, people that have left their brains somewhere else would actually vote in a horrendous disaster…

        But, and I hope it grows that more sane and logical minds will prevail and remind others to not lose sight of the potentials of not paying attention to the force of manipulative politics, and whom they might foist upon the American people that fell asleep. Especially when a north wind descended onto us and the chaos in our country that is ripe for pointing fingers at the Democrats for causing all the problems…

        Like

  3. Hi Chris

    “Reading camps…”

    That does sound like fun, especially if it were combined
    with making things. Kind of a Maker Faire / Reading
    Camp / outdoor games / etc…

    Here’s an encouraging article about an electronic-free
    after-school club:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Arts/2010/0409/Role-playing-games-pull-reluctant-school-kids-into-a-supportive-crowd

    Terry

    Like

    • Interesting. The Game Loft…

      So much of what I am experiencing on many levels is ultimately about developing real human with human community. Creating a larger, morphing sense of family and intimate gathering. Something “Television” or “Video Games” cannot do or will not be able to do, no matter how hard it tries to package up the experience. Think “Super Bowl” tribe… While such an event is trifling entertaining, the core bonding and tribe building is not feeding our souls, hearts and sense of deeper meaningful community that gives us inspiration in real life. Media packaged bonding is shallow, because its ultimate intent is control and profit, and of course, focus on what is being presented and paid for by products competing for consumer dollars…

      “Experiential Camps” are about sharing and learning. That takes a rather profound ingredient that is missing in electronic media centered activities, an ingredient called human “Conversation.”

      Engaging in books or other activities all essentially strive in one direction, to create conversation, especially between people sharing the experience, which hopefully, that is what makes us feel alive and present.

      Hmmmm…. “Conversation Camps: Reawakening our Lost Art Form!”

      Thinking about this makes me look at a cynical side of media, in that we are always being presented the best talkers and entertainers. Media has this power to elevate attractive talkers to the center stage where they get all the attention, while the rest of us often feel inferior to these stage masters. I mean, why in our right mind would we want to get on that stage and talk like a fool in comparison to the gifted talkers… So we don’t. But, we have come to believe that the only important place where we hear or listen to valuable talkers in on television.

      But in small groups that are developing, “EVERYONE” gets to talk and share with equal importance… But, more importantly and to the antithesis of television modeled celebrity centered focus, in these smaller and real human soulful meetings, there is no “CENTER STAGE.” Everyone is on center stage…

      Like

      • Hey Chris

        I don’t know… with the art of conversation dying
        it might be hard to find a group of people willing
        and able to spend a week “in conversation”.

        Maybe conversation and meditation and hiking? Perhaps
        you could start a philosophy meetup up to get people used
        to the idea of being on center stage…

        Terry

        Like

  4. Hey Chris

    “It is depressing and rather scary. As I am watching the growing
    storm of people taking the “Stupid Pill” lately I get nagging
    worries, that under the right set of unusual circumstances and
    or freak circumstances prior to 2012, people that have left their
    brains somewhere else would actually vote in a horrendous disaster…”

    The “Stupid Pill” is being consumed every single night by the
    vast majority of Americans. Unless things change radically by
    2012, I have no doubt that they will vote in a “horrendous disaster”.
    I think that it was a fluke that Obama got in (if it hadn’t been
    for the economic collapse, Sarah Palin would be president right now).

    Our only hope is that the tea partiers stupify the Republican
    party to such an extent that it becomes just too stupid for a
    slim majority of Americans.

    My hope is that in the long run, reading makes a big come back
    and that people finally become disillusioned with TV.

    Terry

    Like

    • “My hope is that in the long run, reading makes a big come back and that people finally become disillusioned with TV.”

      Maybe we are also going to come to a deeper connection and understanding about what books are to us and society. Just came across this:

      How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read

      http://www.amazon.com/Talk-About-Books-Havent-Read/dp/1596914696

      I am not sure what to make of this, though I am hoping it is satire on a current dysfunctional modern relationship to books, as they (books) have often become tools for creating ego-centric sound important sound bytes. You know the routine: “Oh, yes, I am reading so and so…” but not reading for personal motivation, but for social “PEER” acceptance. Sort of like how I hear people talking about current fad environmental issue books and want to sound topical, but they have not read the books, but are in the “Green Loop” so they sound “IN.”

      I wonder how many recent books being read(?) by faux tea party members fall into this category…?

      Like

      • Hi Chris

        “I am not sure what to make of this, though I am hoping
        it is satire on a current dysfunctional modern relationship
        to books, as they (books) have often become tools for
        creating ego-centric sound important sound bytes. You
        know the routine: “Oh, yes, I am reading so and so…”
        but not reading for personal motivation, but for social
        “PEER” acceptance.”

        As you know, books used to be the very center of cultural
        and political life in America. But not anymore, now it’s
        actually a good sign that some people have enough respect
        for books to at least *claim* to have read the latest hot
        book. What really worries me are the young people who look
        down their noses at books, who would never claim to have
        wasted their precious time reading a mere book.

        “I wonder how many recent books being read(?) by faux tea
        party members fall into this category…?”

        Books can also be powerful sources of propaganda, but
        I would guess that most tea partiers get the bulk
        of their “information” from FOX. It’s no coincidence
        that the major draws for their get-togethers are
        TV personalities, rather than authors.

        Terry

        Like

  5. This just came across the radar: “iBrain, Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind.”

    Not sure what to make of it on first glance, but it does seem to provide a lot of insight into the complex discussions of the human neural connections to media technology.

    http://www.amazon.com/iBrain-Surviving-Technological-Alteration-Modern/dp/0061340332

    Like

    • Hi Chris

      I actually did read iBrain. It was pretty good.
      It even mentioned the “orienting response”, which
      is pretty rare. And it was very research based,
      which I do very much appreciate. I would recommend
      it, it’s not a firebrand polemic, but it does gently
      make the case for people benefiting from technology
      but also putting limits on how much of their precious
      time they spend with the screen.

      Plus they write about some pretty neat studies.

      Thanks for the heads-up !

      Like

  6. When my kids grow up, you’ll be sure there won’t be a tv set.

    All I have to say is this reminds me so much of this video http://www.reelsketch.com/funny-videos-clips/saying-no-to-tv.html

    As to a computer, well, we’ll have to see. Can’t seem to determine if good/bad

    Like

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