Category: TV

Keeping Girls “Girls”

By , May 3, 2010 12:11 pm

One benefit of no TV that had never occurred to me when I began this experiment after the birth of my daughter nine and a half years ago, is the lack of exposure to “sexy teens!”  I am shocked sometimes when I see how some teens and tweens, dress and act.  I really am not a conservative person, in fact I consider myself to be quite liberal, but I do believe that 9 year-old girls are emotionally girls and NOT women.  What ever happened to childhood?

Some might think it backward (please don’t flame me), but I am SO relieved that my 9 1/2 year-old daughter still believes in Santa and the Tooth Fairy.  She still plays dress-up and fairies with her little sister and like-minded friends.  She is not on Facebook, nor has she ever expressed a desire to be.  Don’t berate me for “stunting” my daughter’s social and technological development.  Believe me, I am sure she will “develop socially” as soon as those hormones hit her system!  She also knows how to use a computer just fine thank you.

There are certainly many factors involved.  Her stage of physical development, her personality, and the fact that she attends a very small Montessori School all surely play a role.  But I do truly also believe that part of the fact that she has not yet become interested in “popular teen culture” is that she is not exposed to TV shows and commercials that cause her to emulate those behaviors.

My good friend friend just sent me a link to a review of an interesting-sounding book by Leonard Sax, the author of Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men.  His new book is about girls:  Girls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls-Sexual Identity, the Cyberbubble, Obsessions, Environmental Toxins.  I urge you to read the review and see what you think.

Meanwhile, I hope that my little girls stay little girls for as long as they need to.

120 Calories – The Unplugged Diet

By , February 7, 2010 5:09 pm


QUESTION: Which one of these photos represents 120 calories?


Do you feel the need to lose a little weight after the excesses of the holidays? Believe it or not, according to a new study, simply watching less TV could cause you to burn an average of 120 more calories per day!

That doesn’t sound huge, but according to the New York Times, that is the number of calories burned on a one mile walk.  It is also the number of calories in these servings of foods.

According to Dr. Jennifer Otten, lead author of the study:

“We need a longer-term study to see if this would be an intervention that would help with weight loss, or even weight gain prevention.  But if you add it up over time, it’s equivalent to walking eight miles a week.  Over a year, it might help prevent weight gain of 12 pounds.

Why does unplugging have this effect? According to the study by Dr. Otten published in the December 14-28 of the Archives of Internal Medicine, adults who cut their TV viewing in half spent more time in light physical activities, or even couch-potato activities that burn more calories than TV-watching does (simple “unplugged” activities like reading, playing board games or scrapbooking!).  Their eating patterns did not change*.

The study was based on 36 overweight and obese adults who watched at least 3 hours of television per day.  20 of those people were asked to cut their viewing in half (enforced through a TV lock-out device).   Armband accelerometers measured the movements of all participants.

*NOTE:  An interesting inference from the NY Times Article is that children who cut back on TV actually DO EAT LESS TOO!  Would kids benefit even more than adults by cutting TV viewing in half??

Interesting links:

What Does 120 Calories Look Like? (Be sure to look at the 38 photos at the bottom of the page too)

What Does 200 Calories Look Like?

Click Off the TV, and Burn More Calories

THE STUDY: Effects of Television Viewing Reduction on Energy Intake and Expenditure in Overweight and Obese Adults – A Randomized Controlled Trial

Increased TV Viewing by Kids 2 to 11

By , November 2, 2009 9:10 pm

Nielsen released a study last Monday (October 26) which found that children ages 2 to 5 watch more than 32 hours of TV per week. Kids ages 6 to 11 only watch about 28 hours per week (but they are in school more which accounts for the reduced TV watching).

When you consider that most adults work a 40 hour week, I find those numbers to be astonishing.  Apparently this is the most television viewing for 2 to 11 year-olds since 1995.

Also according to this study, kids aged 6 to 11 also watch more commercials than older kids or adults. Thanks to the wonders of DVR, they also watch the same programs over and over again.

What about video games?  The same study says that children ages 6 to 11 spend nearly 2.5 hours per week playing video games on a TV.



Nielsen Wire Blog: TV Viewing Among Kids at an Eight-Year High

MSNBC – Study: Many Tots Watch 32 Hours of TV a Week

TV-Free Brainstorm

By , September 23, 2009 9:45 am

Are you trying Turnoff Week this week? Don’t know what to do? It’s Wednesday, are you running out of ideas? Here’s a brainstorming-type list. See if you can find some inspiration here:

– Cook together – Bake fun goodies or make dinner.  Try something exotic – kids are far more likely to eat “weird” food if they make it themselves. Have a Kids Cook Night!

– Be tourists – visit a local attraction that you have never visited before.

– Try a craft or an art project. For ideas, you can always search the old Unplugged Projects (the category is: “Unplugged Project” of course!).  Be sure to check out readers’ links for ideas too.

Flip a rock to see what’s under it.  Photograph, draw, or write about your results.

– Go outside and play.  If you live in a city and have no yard, then go to the park.

– Read a book out loud.  By the way, you don’t have to read only simple picture books to toddlers.  They love those, but a nice, appropriate chapter book read in bits can hold their attention (and yours) too.

– Put on some music and dance.

– Dejunk your house, or a room of your house.  Eliminating and organizing stuff might not always be fun, but it leaves you with a lightness of spirit when you are done.  Here’s a post with some ideas for what to do with your cast-offs:  Sort, Junk, Donate.

– Volunteer with your child for a local charity.  If you are unfamiliar with the organization it is best to call first to find out what they need and whether a child the age of yours would be welcome.

– Play some board games together, or have a formal family game night. My advice for preserving your sanity: try to pick a game that your children like, but that is not deadly boring for the adult participants. (ie. stay away from Candyland – that one sends me into an immediate coma.)

– Write a story together and illustrate it.

– Play with your pets, wash the dog, teach him dog tricks, put the cat away and get the bird out …

– Learn a new skill together: knitting, crocheting, French knitting (aka. corking, mushroom knitting, knitting knobby, knitting nancy, spool knitting), finger knitting, weaving, embroidery, needlepoint, wool felting. If you don’t have a French knitter, make one out of a tin can.  If you don’t have a weaving loom, make one out of a picture frame!

– Take a walk around your neighborhood, or be adventurous and go on a real “nature hike!” Check out these sites for more outdoors/nature-related ideas: Backyard Nature, Green Hour

– Organize a family (or neighborhood) soccer game.  Or basketball, or baseball, or tag, or “Mother May I…”

– When all else fails…bring out the Mommy I’m Bored Box.

Turnoff Week – September 2009

By , September 15, 2009 5:55 pm

Uh oh, I almost missed it and the dates are actually posted here on my very own blog.  National Screen/TV Turnoff Week is now twice a year and the September Turnoff Week will be from September 20th -26th which is next week!

Have you ever wondered what would happen in your family if you eliminated (or reduced) TV?  Mutiny? Peace? More reading?  Less arguing?  More arguing?  Boredom?  More playing outside?

Now’s your chance to find out.  People all over the United States (and the world?) will be turning off TVs for one week.  No real commitment is necessary.  You don’t have to blow-up your TV, or even donate it to the local thrift store.  Just turn it off for one week (unplug it from the wall if the kids know how to turn it on by themselves).

I know that many readers of this blog are already TV-free (or at least minimalist when it comes to “The Box”).  How about trying to minimize other screens that week?  My personal downfall is of course the computer.  I will try to turn it off (as much as possible*) that week.  [*See?  Am I already waffling?]

I will TRY.  That is what counts.  Perfection is not required.

By the way, from my past experience with feedback from TV Turnoff Week, it is usually the husbands rather than the kids who put up the most fuss about eliminating the tube.

Something to think about.

PS.  I am not sure about organizing a formal Turnoff Blog Challenge this time.  Is there any interest?

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