Friday, April 25, 2008


I must spend up to six hours a day on my computer, but you don't hear the government trying to get me off that. Instead, like they have for plenty of years past, they're encouraging all of us good citizens to turn off the tv for a week. The Department of Health and Human Services believes National Turn-off Your TV Week will get our children fit. Makes sense. The longer they sit in front of the television, the less they exercise. The government estimates that, on average, children between the ages of 8 and 18 spend more than six hours a day in front of the boob tube.

I don't watch nearly as much television as I used to, primarily because of the computer. I record a lot of shows, like American Idol, 60-minutes and a few of the CSI shows.

Instead of pushing the exercise angle, these government folks should put a little more emphasis on the other benefits of not watching tv. For one, it's an opportunity for parents to spend more quality time with their children. They can play games, ready books, do some homework, tell stories and yes, even go on a family walk or bike ride. Bowling and fishing are fun, too.

I'm not going to tell you how to run your house, but may I suggest you start by allowing your children to pick one hour of tv viewing a night and don't buy them a tv for their bedrooms. Do the same with the computer, with the exception of school related research and work. Let's say two hours.

You put curfews on how late they can stay out, why not how much tv and internet access they have.

I have another solution, get rid of their modern radios and replace them with the kind that only pick up AM stations. (you can find some nice classics on Ebay) This way they'll be forced to listen to information, everything from political talk to all news. They may even learn how to polka by listening to that low watt radio station down at the end of the dial or listen to New York City's AM public radio station.

If you want to go one better, go out buy one of those old Crosley AM radio/record players from the 1930's. Go out and buy some albums of old radio dramas and just like they did in the 30's and 40's, the whole family can sit around the radio and relive what was once called "theater of the mind." Challenge your kids brains a little. And, hey, Uncle Sam, next year think about asking Americans to give up their computers for a week. See how that goes over!

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