Original Programming

SCREEN-FREE WEEK IS A TURN OFF

My life is television. I fall asleep to the TV, I wake up to the TV, I cook with the TV on and all day, I work in TV. On weekends, I turn every TV on to the same channel, so when cleaning around the house, I won’t miss a moment. My husband even works for DirecTV – so you can see how the boob tube has engulfed everything we do.

It was brought to my attention that April 30th is the first day of “Screen-Free Week”- an annual event where entire communities are encouraged to turn off their televisions and “turn on life.” Did you just blurt out a chuckle, like I did? I mean, what do-gooder dreamed-up such an absurd proposition? Well, it seems a group called TV-Free America did. In 1994, they launched TV-Turnoff week and in 2010, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) changed it to Screen-Free week due to the variety of ways in which video can be viewed (phones, computers, iPads and more.)

I get it. It’s noble to step away from the glowing box. But weren’t we all raised, in large part, by our televisions? Isn’t it good for people to see other cultures and perspectives than their own? I realize it’s the excessive hours Americans are watching, but The Facts of Life, The Love Boat, School House Rock shaped who I am. The first time I saw an American Indian was in the early ‘70s Keep America Beautiful commercial. He stoically cried about the littered landscape and (even though it was discovered he was actually of Italian descent) as a kid, the message resonated with me. Who and where would I be today without hours of television? Certainly not partaking in a “Back In the ‘80s” Facebook quiz. The horror.

However for the sake of research, I’m going to give Screen-Free Week a shot to see what kind of grit I’m made of. You’d think I was auditioning for Survivor or something. I’ll give a full report and let you know if it became Screen-Free Hour, instead.

Someone blow out my torch – I’m already nauseous.