BREAKING THE TV HABIT by Joan Anderson Wilkins


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A gradual-withdrawal approach to limited and selective TV-viewing--with a strong resemblance to other habit-breaking regimens. During the first week of the four-week plan, the family simply watches itself watching by keeping track of its daily TV schedule. In week two, the family plans which programs to watch, notes individual reactions to the programs, and rates them as Excellent, Good, Mediocre, or Bad; also, family members indicate what they did instead of watching particular programs. Cutting back begins in week three, by covering or storing all but one TV set; limiting the amount of time spent watching to one hour per night, with three nights of no TV; and planning weekend watching as a family. Family members set goals for the amount of time they plan to watch TV, and keep records of their accomplishments. Life without television begins in week four, but only if the family can substitute other activities, and feels ready. For this phase, Wilkins provides suggestions for reequipping a house (stock a sports center with balls, chalk, and the like; create a crafts center with paints, scissors, paper, and model kits), and for finding specific activities to fill empty hours (plan a major overhaul on the house, invite another family to a potluck dinner, plan a garage sale featuring all the items you bought because of television). The anticipated results: a higher noise level, a messier house, extra expenses (this is a distinctly middle-class approach), and changes in children's attitudes and behavior. Workable--for people who like to work at this sort of thing.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Scribners