TV turn off week – what to do instead of watching the box?

the average US child spends 1023 hours a year watching TVThere have been so many fabulous campaigns and organised events this week that it’s been a job to choose which ones to write about and to keep up with them all.

Alongside International Downshifting Week, Real nappy week and Earth day, we are nearing the end of TV turn Off week!

Some of the statistics surrounding our television viewing are shocking. For instance, the average US child spends more time watching TV than they do in school.

Obesity rates are increasing, we’re seeing more and more cases of Attention Deficit Disorder, more violence and aggression in children and less ability to focus and concentrate. And as for the negativity and ‘reality TV shows’; I’m not even going to go there……..

Now I’m not saying that TV is to blame for all of things, but, ok, yes I am actually 😀
TV is my ‘thing’ and if you’ll forgive the pun, it’s my soapbox.

But I won’t soapbox you all today. I’m just going to give you the opportunity to join in with millions of people across the world during TV turn off week.

Do you ever get to the end of the night, roll into bed and wished you’d spent your evening doing something more meaningful, fun, productive, active or creative? Do you ever wished you’d spent more quality time with your loved ones?

We’ve all been in that position after allowing the TV to trance us out for yet another evening of trash. It’s a time waster at best……..

Don’t view your evening without the TV as a deprivation, use it as an OPPORTUNITY! Start that craft project you’ve been meaning to do. Chat on the phone to a friend you haven’t called in ages, pamper yourself with a candlelit bath, play board games with your children, write a journal or book, meditate, go for a bike ride, look through old photographs, read a great book, potter about in the garden, indulge in a little hanky panky with your partner – I bet you didn’t watch much TV when you first met 😉
dig out the board games and have some fun

Most of all, don’t be scared of the silence or of boredom. Boredom is often the wellspring from which creativity flows and in silence you can find the still, small voice of your intuition and wisdom.

Turning off the TV is great for the environment and your health too! No EMF radiation being released into your brain cells and no electricity being consumed.

You could set yourself the challenge of turning your TV time into an opportunity for providing service to the world. I’ve come up with four different ideas for you:

1- Knit!

Oxfam are after 250,000 knitted squares by September to create a giant baby blanket, with each square knitted representing a mother who did not survive pregnancy or childbirth to be able to care for her baby, because she couldn’t access the medical care she needed.

2- Join a green gym

During a green gym session you will be doing environmental conservation or gardening activities with a trained leader. You could plant a new hedge, cut back an overgrown path, or help build a community garden.

exercise, fresh air and community life at the green gymThese activities are taken at your own pace, but there is always something to get your heart and muscles working.

3- Volunteer.

Log onto Do-It and become a volunteer. Simply type in your postcode and it will bring up a list of any volunteering opportunities in your area. It’s interesting to see what comes up.

I could be a school mentor, help young children play tennis, be a supporter for people with dementia, help older people become acquainted with computers, collect collection boxes from pubs, help with catering on boat trips for the disabled or work on a crisis line for victims of domestic abuse for example. Things I would never have even thought of!

4- Campaign!

Sit and write to your local MP about something you feel passionately about. Perhaps you want to write a bout global warming, hospital care, education or the state of the roads.

Once you take on a couple of new projects, you’ll wonder how you ever had time to watch 4 hours of TV in an evening!

How much TV do you watch each day? Do you think you would like to cut down – if so, what might you do instead?


  1. LauraBozeman on May 4, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Amen! We got rid of our tv last December. We don’t miss it. TV became such a time suck for us – we would find ourselves just aimlessly surfing. For hours. What a waste! We also got rid of the box for our son. He’s two – and was getting very interested in watching commercials. That was scary. So, we are a tv free household. I’m glad I found your blog. I will bookmark it and read through your archives!

  2. Mrs Green on May 5, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Hey Laura – welcome!

    It’s great that you saw the possible detriments to watching TV; especially with your young son, and you decided to TAKE ACTION by getting rid of it.

    I’d love to hear what your favourite part is of being TV-free. Is there a particular memory of something you have done as a family that you know you wouldn’t have done if you’d all been sucked into the box?

    How are those new years resolutions going over at Kookaloo?

    Best wishes,
    Mrs green x