Grassroots initiative seeks to turn American televisions off

A grassroots push has been launched by TV-Turnoff Network, which was founded in 1994 as TV-Free America, to encourage kids and adults to watch less TV in exchange for spending more time with family and promoting a healthier lifestyle.

A grassroots push has been launched by TV-Turnoff Network, which was founded in 1994 as TV-Free America, to encourage kids and adults to watch less TV in exchange for spending more time with family and promoting a healthier lifestyle.

TV-Turnoff Network is currently promoting TV-Turnoff Week, set to begin today, to get people to take control of the technology in their lives, instead of letting technology control them. TV-Turnoff Network has encouraged people to build their own network in their community through schools, churches, and scout groups to promote TV-Turnoff Week, with people running the event in their own communities. The organization Web site (www.tvturnoff.org) gives people tips on how to organize their own group and events, including how to write a press release, to help further the campaign.

Why does it matter?

TV-Turnoff Network is utilizing grassroots marketing to reach those most concerned about changing their children's attachment to TV. According to Chad Rea, founder and creative director of youth and entertainment marketing company 86 the onions, "Brands with smaller budgets or brands that [are] more youth-oriented brands tend to thrive on this soft-sell and often more credible approach."

In an age where we are reliant on technology, this campaign targets America's youth and what they can do to become more aware of their health and less tied to the TV screen.

Five facts:

1 The American Pediatric Association recommends that children under 2 watch 0 hours of TV, but the average American 1-year-old is watching six hours per week.

2 According to the TV-Turnoff Network, watching TV promotes overconsumption due to mass exposure to advertising. More than 95% of American kids under the age of 6 have toys based on characters from TV shows.

3 The TV-Turnoff Network also runs a six-week program called "More Reading, Less TV." It helps elementary school teachers show their students the value of reading.

4 TV-Turnoff Week is supported by more than 65 organizations, including the American Medical Association and the National Education Association.

5 The TV-Turnoff Network expects to have more than 8 million participants in the US alone for the campaign this year.

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