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Television Facts and Figures

an IslamiCity Bulletin

TV Turnoff Network recently published their research results that startled us. When we noticed the terms, ‘average American’ or ‘average American home’ in the data, we knew Muslims contributed to this average. While we are busy building Masajid and Islamic schools out in the communities through out America, we seem to be forgetting the need of a Masjid and an Islamic School within our own dwellings. TV Turnoff Network is an American nonprofit organization encouraging children and adults to watch less television in order to promote healthier lives and communities.

TV Undermines Family Life:

An average American watches TV per day: over 4 hrs
Time per day that TV is ON in an average US home: 7 hrs
Percentage of US households with at least one TV: 98%
Number of videos rented daily in America: 6 million
Number of public library items checked out daily: 3 million

TV Harms Children & Hampers Education:

Average daily time spent by a 1 year old in front of TV: 6 hrs
Average daily time in a week for children ages 2-17 in front of TV: 20 hrs
Weekly parental time spent in meaningful conversation with their children: 38.5 minutes
Hours per year a youth spends in School: 900 hrs
Hours per year a youth watches Television: 1023 hrs

TV Promotes Excessive Commercialism:

Number of TV commercials viewed by American children a year: 20,000
Age by which children can develop brand loyalty: 2 years
Percentage of local TV news broadcast time devoted to advertising: 30%
Percentage of American children who are seriously overweight in 1999: 15%
Percentage of young people who report having had no recent physical activity: 14%

What must be Done?

The medium of Television is harmfully powerful and prevails everywhere. Efforts must be made at individual and as well as collective levels. As individuals we have the power to

turn it OFF

simply live without it.

Believe it or not, living without TV is ideal and doable too. The author of this article knows many happy families who never owned a TV set and are not diagnosed with any psychological disorders either!

Following are few simple but meaningful alternate activities that may not completely replace but can substitute TV time.

Turn your TV off during meals. It is a great time for family conversations. Discover each other!

Make Thank You Cards using a Qur’anic Verse or a Prophetic saying for your non-Muslim neighbors.

Read a book together and then debate on it as teams.

Dine early and arrange for a family walk in your neighborhood park and pray together.

Family Fun: Cook, Write, Teach, Repair, Garden… whatever do it together.

Organize a Quiz contest.

Organize a field trip to assist needy.

Convene educational workshops, involve parents, teachers, Imams and children and talk about the ills and or benefits about Television. Make groups and have pro and anti advocacy debates. It will be pleasantly surprising to discover the hidden talent within you and others around you. Take lead and be a pioneering community to launch a campaign for a TV free community.

InshaAllah, you will be amply rewarded in this temporal world and the eternal Hereafter.

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