February 14, 2007

YOU CAN TURN OFF THE TV AND SPEND TIME…

“Addiction is an ugly word, but it is a reality. And what are the results of TV addiction? Deterioration. Deterioration of family togetherness, closeness. Deterioration of mind and spirit. We’ve lost the art of family conversation. We don’t read. Our children are not stimulated to read. They are missing the great treasures, the literature of the ages. But the worst result of the addiction is a lack of interest in God and the Scriptures. Divine love as well as human love is leaving the home of the family addicted to television.”
— Father Morton A. Hill, S.J., founder of Morality in Media (Twin Circle, 1981)

What Can I Do On Turn Off TV Day?

Valentine’s Day: What better day could there be to turn off the TV set (or sets) in your house, and spend some “quality time” with the people you love? For your family unity-building, consider these suggestions:

  • Have dinner with family or friends at a restaurant. Give Mom (or whoever does the cooking) the night off.
  • Go to a local museum.
  • See a good play.
  • Stroll in the park.
  • Play Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue, chess, or your other favorite board game.
  • Read a good book together.
  • Help out at a soup kitchen, or other local charity.
  • And, most appropriately, take time to write to the broadcasters and advertisers to let them know how you feel about offensive programming.

History of Turn Off TV Day

Morality in Media has sponsored a national Turn Off TV Day since 1991. For Turn Off TV Day 1992, we asked Americans to write to the heads of the major TV networks to protest the glut of vulgar language, glorified unmarried sex, unending crime and violence, and insults to Jewish-Christian values that have infected American TV programming. Thousands of letters were sent to these executives. One letter writer named Jeanne H. Nelson gave us the inspiration for the title of this book:

“We see our nation, in its schools and communities, reaping the harvest of such programming in the truancy, lawlessness and crime our country is presently experiencing. Can you [television executives] deny this, at least partly, is due to what their eyes and minds are being fed via television, one of the most powerful mind-benders ever invented?”

Another letter writer, Kathleen P. Whitworth of Ferndale, Wash., summed up the way many American families feel about television:

“Our family of 10 does not watch a lot of TV … And if you are concerned about ratings, you may want to know why.

  • First, most of the shows are inane and insulting to the intelligence . . .
  • Second, the concepts and story lines are often so far-fetched from mainstream American life that we can only suppose their creators are quite out of touch with reality.
  • Third, the language is appalling, including the expletive use of names of the deity and terms more appropriate to bathrooms, barnyards, and x-rated sex manuals. We may hear such language in public, but we do not use it in our home. So why should we invite it in via the airways?
  • Fourth, the sexual innuendos and portrayals are far more frequent and graphic than is necessary …
  • Fifth, screen violence is epidemic and desensitizing, and all too graphic.

Do you writers, directors, and producers presume that Americans have lost all sense of imagination? Must you show EVERYTHING? We are not anti-media … But we protest the glut of garbage … “

Originally, Turn Off TV Day was held in November, but later was switched to the second Friday in February. When that day coincided with Valentine’s Day in 1997, Morality in Media decided to fix that date — February 14 — for Turn Off TV Day.

Now more than ever, it’s time to protest this “glut of garbage” on TV. One way you can do it is to participate in “Turn Off TV Day.”

As Dr. James Dobson of “Focus on the Family” advises, screen out the filth and violence as much as you can, but “if the little box can’t be subdued, you might try unplugging it, selling it or moving it into the garage … Then gather the family around and read a great book together.”

For more information on “Turn Off TV Day,” call Morality in Media in New York at 1-212-870-3222, or write to us at 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 239, New York, NY 10115. Author: MIM   02/14/2007

Further Reading