Monday, April 20, 2009

Don't Let Rainy Weather Stop You from Turning Off the TV

It's international Turnoff Week. So turn off your TV, iPhone and Xbox, and say goodbye to Twitter and Facebook. Are you up for the challenge?

I don't even have cable, so TV definitely doesn't rule my life. I should be able to turn it off for a week no problem, but a rainy start to the week makes me think that it may not happen. If I can't work in the yard or go for a bike ride, why shouldn't I just watch a few programs or spend a few hours on Facebook? I do have a few pounds to lose, some spring cleaning to do, and a few books that have been sitting on the nightstand unopened. Come to think of it, I have more than a week's worth of non-TV and non-computer things I've been wanting to do for ages. I guess I'm willing to give a try...are you?

There are tons of stats out there about how TV is bad for you (and for kids). Parents miss out on meaningful conversations with kids. People who watch alot of TV are more likely to get fat. Computer, TVs and video systems waste energy and $$$. Children who watch TV may be more likely to have ADHD symptoms. If you need more reasons or stats to get you moving, here are a few sites that might persuade you: Ten Financial Reasons To Turn Off Your Television - And Ten Things To Replace It With. Trash Your TV contains tons of stats - some seem plausible, others are questionable, but they might just get you moving. Some recent articles question Is google making us stupid, or is it the computer screen that's doing us in?

For me, all the statistics in the world don't make a difference. What is most important to me is that watching TV (with the exception of a few really good, thought-provoking shows) makes me feel like I am wasting my life. I live in a great neighborhood and city. I have an awesome (and awesomely large) family. I can make a difference in the lives of the people around me, but not if I'm watching TV or sitting in front of a screen. At the end of my life, I definitely will not be saying, "I wish I had seen more episodes of Family Guy" or, "If only I'd spent a few more hours searching the web, who knows what I could have done with my life." Seriously, I know that there are better things to do with my time.

Getting Started. Take baby steps...cut out 1 program a day (or a week). Then go from there. If you need something a little more concrete, here are 7 Ways to Cut TV Time. And here are some ways to help your kids reduce their TV time.

You've turned off the TV, now what?
Get outside, read a book, play a game with the family, create a scrapbook from all those digital pictures that are just sitting on the computer...the possibilities are endless. Here are some sites that the whole family can use to fill those 4.5 hours a day that are now available: Check out the library. Here's what's going on at the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library this week. Get healthy. Take advantage of the We Can online resources or the Subway Kids Healthy at Home tools. Get creative inside and outside. Make a difference. Check out how to volunteer as a family and go to Volunteer Match to find volunteer opportunities in your area -- just key in your ZIP code and click on “advanced search.” You can specify the kind of opportunities you want to pursue and find organizations that are kid-friendly.

Lastly, be committed to living the best life possible - with or without TV.

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