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International TV-Turnoff Week
Last April 5 million people switched off.
stop the yak! Have you ever gone away on holiday without television? Then you've already done a TV Turnoff. Maybe you missed a show here or there. But was it really so bad? Maybe you also discovered some things you were missing: time with your family, time to think. Did you perhaps become more involved with the things you yourself could do, instead of the things people on TV pretend to do?

And when you came back home, did "seeing what's on" excite you or disappoint you? Had you forgotten how it demands attention? Maybe sitting around watching seemed less fun.

Many of the people who got rid of television did so after just such a holiday. For others, the experience of watching TV in a hotel room is what did it. Listening to actors and detergent commercials in a foreign language was just enough to make them ask "What am I doing sitting in here? Who are these people and why do I care what they say?"

Even if you are happy as a "discerning viewer", remember there's a whole industry of highly paid, well educated people whose job it is to see that you don't discern. They get paid to keep you sitting there - no matter what's on. That's why the best way to moderate your viewing is to stop watching entirely for a while. It will give you a chance to see how much TV you really need.

The TV Turnoff is great for kids.
Young children don’t want TV. Parents have to teach them to watch it. When older children are asked, it's not TV they say they want. They watch it because they’re bored. And television just encourages them to stay bored. A week without television gives children back their natural creativity. Here’s a teacher from one of the 25,000 schools that participated last year:

"Kids get excited at how easy they find not-watching.
If at the end of the day they haven't watched TV, there's such pride."

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The People Behind It

The TV-Turnoff was first proposed by Marie Winn in her 1977 book, The Plug-In Drug. The idea was taken up in earnest by the non-profit group the TV Turnoff Project, and made an international event by the Media Foundation in Vancouver (publishers of Adbusters magazine), the Society for Ecology and Culture in Bhutan and Ladakh, and by White Dot in Great Britain.
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Aside from anti-television campaigns, the TV-Turnoff is endorsed by a large number of health, education and social organisations. What follows is only a partial list:

Children’s Defence Fund, Libraries for the Future,The American Medical Association, American Federation of Teachers, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Association of Elementary Schools, American Psychiatric Association, Council for Basic Education, American Heart Association, Association of Library Service to Children, National Parenting Association, Family Research Council, Student Environmental Action Coalition, Child Welfare League of America

We are especially keen to hear from representatives of any group that wishes to find out more about the Turnoff and perhaps give it their own endorsement. If that's you, or someone you can introduce us to, tell us! The difference between a "cute story" and a serious issue is your involvement.
Turn off TV, Turn on Life wwwww

Help organise a TV-Turnoff in your area!

When you get rid of television for a week, you’ll have more time for other people. By organising a TV-Turnoff where you live, they’ll have more time for you. It’s a chance to celebrate real life and create a groundswell of public awareness. It’s easy, even if you’ve never done anything like this before:

Step One: Contact White Dot
The TV-Turnoff has been running for over 10 years now in the United States. White Dot ran its first British TV Turnoff in 1997. We have always been able to grab attention and raise awareness. Now we want to build real grassroots support. Join our database of members and tell us what you plan to do next April. We will remind you when it is time to organise and provide you with materials. We will put you in contact with other events in your area.

Step Two: Print This Website
Using your browser, print off this website, or save it as a file. You are then ready to hit the photocopying machine give copies away to people. Hand them out at meetings and put stacks of them in public places.

Step Three: Form a Local TV-Turnoff Committee
Organising any event is easier if you have a few extra hands. Talk to friends or family. Hold a meeting to get going. Agree a list of people to contact and start calling. The following types of people have strongly supported previous TV-Turnoffs:

Teachers and School Librarians: They know how important it is to break television’s grip on children. Teachers who participate in TV-Turnoffs say their children behave better and take more interest in learning, almost immediately. And teachers are great organisers! Participating schools have held dinners, sleep-overs, costume days, "Earth Weeks", art nights, readings, talent shows and activity fairs.

We can help teachers twin their classes in Britain with classes in America to co-ordinate special activities.

Parents: Ask the local PTA to endorse the Turnoff. Their support is of enormous benefit. Address their meetings, and those of any parent or childcare group.

Local Businesses: Approach the managers of any place that sells books, sporting goods or coffee. Also: pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres. Ask them to display leaflets, and to hold or sponsor events.

Religious Leaders: Ask them to tell their congregations about TV-Turnoff Week, perhaps incorporating the theme of a "TV fast" into their readings or sermons, as Pope John Paul II did in March 1996.

Other Groups: Public librarians, environmentalists, doctors, museums and art galleries, colleges, adult literacy councils and almost any charitable organisation. These groups know that their biggest enemy is apathy. The Turnoff is a chance to attack apathy where it lives.

Step Four: Contact the Press
Write a press release with as much information about the Turnoff and yourself as you can fit on a page or two. Include a contact name and numbers. It helps to stage a public event with notable endorsers giving speeches of 5-10 minutes each. Have reporters sign a press list, so you can contact them again.

Step Five: Contact White Dot Again
Email us and tell us how it went. Send us any press cuttings about your Turnoff. Help us prepare for next year. Tell us how you liked being set-free.


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