Kill Your TV
- Time the average American watches TV each day: 4 hours
- Time the average 65-year old has spent watching TV: 9 years
- Number of hours per day that TV is on in an average U.S. home: 6 hours, 47 minutes
- Percentage of Americans that regularly watch television while eating dinner: 66
- Percentage of Americans who say they watch too much TV: 49
- Number of minutes per week parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 3.5
- Number of minutes per week the average child watches television: 1,680
- Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours
- Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500
- Number of murders seen on TV by the time an average child finishes elementary school: 8,000
- Number of 30-second TV commercials seen in a year by an average child: 20,000
- Percentage of local TV news broadcast time devoted to advertising: 30
- Percentage devoted to stories about crime, disaster and war: 53.8
- Percentage devoted to public service announcements: 0.7
Millions of Americans are so hooked on television that they fit the criteria for substance abuse as defined in the official psychiatric manual, according to Rutgers University psychologist and TV-Free America board member Robert Kubey. Heavy TV viewers exhibit five dependency symptoms–two more than necessary to arrive at a clinical diagnosis of substance abuse. These include:
1) using TV as a sedative;
2) indiscriminate viewing;
3) feeling loss of control while viewing;
4) feeling angry with oneself for watching too much;
5) inability to stop watching; and
6) feeling miserable when kept from watching.
Whew, you’re saying to yourself. That’s not ME. I don’t watch THAT much TV. I only watch educational programs, documentaries and Discovery Channel. I limit my viewing, I TiVo and skip the commercials, so I probably don’t have to worry about this at all.
Television can just as easily fill the same psychological need as food. You turn on the TV for comfort, as reward, for “company”, for some perceived “human” connection. You turn it on because, well, it’s there. And you let it run, assailing your brains with messages you can’t control, for hour upon hour every single day. When that TV is on, you are not present – not for yourself, nor for those around you. The television turns you into a spectator, not a participant in your own life. And the worst part is that you’re not even aware of what you are doing, and what you are missing as a result.