TV Turnoff Week
By Family Editorial Staff
In 2008 April 21–27 was TV Turnoff Week, this year conditioning your finger to not push the illusory magic button, is from April 20 - 26. TV Turnoff Week is an event that aims at reminding the family members who love to sit in front of the TV that there are other things to do in life, like, for example, that they have families to care for! A silly idea? Well, wait and see.
In a longitudinal study by Rowell Huesmann and others, it was found that there exists a direct relation between the behavior of children between 6 and 10 years of age and their behavior in adulthood 15 years later. It was also found that the children perceive the violence on TV as a mirror of real life.
Men who had participated as children in the group named TV High Violence Viewers were, as adults, more likely to push or grab their spouses or to commit a crime than those who had participated in the groups TV Low Violence Viewers and TV Medium Violence Viewers.
Women who had participated as children in the group TV High Violence Viewers were, as adults, more likely to throw something at their spouses than those who had participated in the other two groups. Also, they were more likely to react with physical aggression against anyone who made them mad.
This study was carried out between 1977 and 1992, so one can imagine the results that would come out nowadays. A child can start to watch TV at the age of two. On average, people watch the TV four hours a day. Multiplied by seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, and then averagely 16 years of one's lifetime, this results in a long period of time, during which one is "trained" on how not to behave!
Meanwhile, thousands upon thousands of real people are suffering somewhere in the world, including your neighborhood, and real lives are being lost. If you are not stuck in front of the TV, that is because you are a mom who is struggling to make a hotel seem like a home.
While your children are sitting in front of the TV, how much do you know about what they think or feel? How much do you know about what they are watching when you are not watching? Instead of becoming desensitized by TV, your children can be actively engaged in real communication with real people, using their imagination and doing activities as members of a family.
While your children are glued to the TV, a number of negative effects take place.
* Your 2-year-old's brain, which is in need of real-life communication and challenges that stimulate healthy growth, passively takes in values and patterns of behavior from the TV. In the process, your child develops a consumerist mentality that is not favored in the family. The child then stops to use his or her brain to think, inquire, or work things out.
* An average American child will see 200,000 acts of violence and 16,000 murders by the time he or she is 18 years of age.
* Girls will learn to sexualize their self-image, and boys will learn to see girls as sex objects. All this does not take into account what they will learn from the CDs, DVDs, and videos.
* The two-dimensional screen of a TV and the constant flicker of light impair the development of the eyes. A child's eyes continue to develop up until the age of 12 years.
* While children are being bombarded with images from the TV, they are not developing their own images essential to the development of their own creativity and imagination, as well as their social and cognitive skills.
If you still do not believe in any of the above, it will do you no harm to switch off the TV for just one week and plan a week of family activities instead. Even if you have a busy week of work and studies, the family spirit is still possible by
* Praying together
* Eating together at previously set times
* Sharing what each one has done during the day
* Sharing concerns and stories
* Helping with the housework
* Helping with the schoolwork
* Finding out about the topic being studied for homework
* Playing with children
* Gathering around a newspaper, with each one taking a turn in sharing something of interest in that newspaper and discussing that piece of news with the others
* Visiting relatives together
* Going out to a Muslim event together
* Planning a summer activity or holiday together
* Sharing a lesson, a Qur'anic verse, or a Prophetic hadith
* Playing a game together
* Going to bed at a reasonable time, so that each one can get up the next day refreshed and ready to take on the world
You never know — you might find your children more willing to listen when the week is up. You might find that there is much less aggression in the home, in sha' Allah.
"What Do I Need to Know About Children and TV? " University of Michigan Health System. Accessed 30 Apr. 2008.
Huesmann, L. Rowell, et al. "Longitudinal Relations Between Children’s Exposure to TV Violence and Their Aggressive and Violent Behavior in Young Adulthood: 1977–1992." Developmental Psychology 39.2 (2003): 201–221.
TVTurnoff.org: Center for Screen-Time Awareness . Accessed 30 Apr. 2008.