I guess this is national turn-off-your-TV week, or something like that, and some people think this is a Great Thing. Go get fresh air, read a book, visit your library…
The local TV critic (who I frequently disagree with, and whose habit of putting on the HBO Cheerleader outfit becomes repetitive after a while) wrote a column this morning disparaging the “movement.”
Oddly enough, I agree with his reasoning. Not because I’m a vidiot, but because I get tired of the blame-somebody-else habit. Your kids watch too much TV? Turn it off. Telling them “Oh, just don’t watch this week” makes it a stunt (and I agree with the columnist–the quotes from supposed kid participants in the no-TV week are unbelievable). Working out a “TV budget”–like a game-playing budget, a phone-time budget, etc.–is a different thing, probably good parenting.
You watch too much TV? Turn it off. Figure out why you watch too much TV. What are you avoiding? What would you actually do if you turned off the TV? What makes it better? If turning it off as a special stunt helps, great–but it misses the point.
Do we ever go for a week without watching TV? You betcha: Any time we’re on vacation. But then, we don’t sit glued in front of the tube every evening hoping something interesting will come on. We watch what we want to watch (and have no TiVo to encourage watching more), and don’t watch when we’re not interested. Right now (at this point in the season), that comes out to about four hours a week (not including DVDs); in the heart of the season, it was six or seven hours a week. (Yes, that’s TV–not PBS, not A&E, not Bravo.) Come summer, it will be down to almost nothing.
We also walk 0.5-1.5 miles to and from a restaurant every Saturday night. We also make a point of taking a decent walk on Sundays. We read. We write. We converse. Somehow, having a very nice TV in the living room has never obliged us to turn it on when we first come home or leave it on when we’re not watching something we’re actively interested in.
If you can’t stop watching, having a no-watch week won’t solve your problem. Heck, some people read way too many books for a balanced life, but I’ve never heard of a “No-Books Week.”