"The Awful Truth About Television:
Family time suffers when kids get only 38 minutes of parents' time"

TV time adds up

The time spent watching TV impacts many aspects of life, most notably the family. According to the latest figures from Nielsen Media Research, Inc., the average American now spends 4 hours and 32 minutes per day watching TV. Per week that adds up to 31½ hours.

Why is the family in crisis?

In contrast with 31½ hours in front of a TV, the average American parent spends only 38 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children. Yet, pundits on both the left and right wonder why the American family is in crisis. As a parent, how can you have a meaningful relationship with your children, if you are so busy watching TV that you do not have time to talk with them, to listen to their problems, to celebrate their achievements, or to simply BE together as a family? It is simply not possible. You cannot build a family foundation on reruns of Leave it to Beaver.

Kids want more family time

Your children may not say it, but kids often want more time with their family. According to the Horatio Alger Association’s report, The State of Our Nation's Youth: "If they could have one wish granted, students would choose to have more time to spend with their families (46%).” Children chose family time over having more money to buy material things (27%), living in a bigger house (14%), and having more time to spend on spiritual pursuits (7%)."

TV time does not count as quality family time

Some parents may feel that they are spending quality time with their children when they are watching TV shows together. If you sit back and observe the way most people watch TV, you will quickly see that there is usually very little interaction among members who are watching a show together.

They may all be doing the same thing. They may all be pleasantly relaxed. However, each person has their attention focused on the screen. It is not the same as working together, doing a project together, or playing a game together. Family members may be tuned in to the TV, but they are tuned out from each other.

Get that TV out of the bedroom!

Parents also cannot build a meaningful relationship while they are watching TV. There has been no prominent study relating the amount of time couples spend in front of the TV to divorce rates. However, an Italian study recently revealed that having a television in the bedroom cuts your sex life in half. The team of sexologists in Rome found Italians who live without a TV in the bedroom had sex eight times a month. Those with a TV, had sex only four times on average.

Find out how much your family watches

Most people underestimate how much TV they watch. Time just seems to fly by when you are glued to the tube. However, you owe it to yourselves and your family to find out how much you are actually watching. Take a week to document the time your family watches TV. When this is finished, you can get together as a family and decide if there isn't a better way for everyone to spend their time.

Solve your family's problems and create happy memories

Turning off the TV might not automatically create an idyllic family and it likely will not overcome severe problems such as abuse, but it will give your family the time everyone needs to tackle life’s basic problems. You and your family will also have the time to build happy memories that will last a lifetime. Turn off your TV today to begin creating a new life with your partner and children.

About 'The Awful Truth About Television' Series:

What happens when the average American spends 4 hours 32 minutes every day watching television? Trash Your TV's 'The Awful Truth About Television' Series explores the multifaceted problems with TV in eleven hard-hitting articles. Read the full series and you will never look at your television set the same way again.


Katherine Westphal is the founder of Trash Your TV! and the author of a revolutionary e-book system,
The TV-FREE System. Get in control of your TV watching and create the life you want, whether it is to create the body, the mind, the business, the family, or the community of your dreams.

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