TV Turnoff Week has never been more of a turn off. Imagine this year if they held a Boycott Car Dealerships Week or Stop Buying Newspapers Week. Talk about kicking an industry when it is down.
Nevertheless, here we are in the middle of TV Turnoff Week (April 20-26). Holding it every year during this fourth week of April kinda makes sense in the States. There are reruns a plenty as the networks traditionally catch their breath before gearing up for that final May sweeps, end-of-season push. But in Canada, TV Turnoff Week always runs smack against the opening round of the NHL playoffs, which is when some of us like to ramp up our TV viewing (he typed, while keeping one eye glued to the Flames-Black Hawk fourth game thriller on TSN).
Some of the Adbuster dudes take things a little far, too, using these nasty TV-B-Gone zappers to shut public TV‘s off by remote control. Wars have been fought over less.
Still, I‘ve always been open to the idea of shutting the set off for a week, as an individual or as a family. It‘s a worthwhile experiment I‘ve tried a few times, chronicling the experience eight or nine years ago in the pages of the Toronto Sun (too long ago to be linked to, I‘m afraid). I found it made me a more discerning viewer, more selective about how much TV I consume. Shutting off the computer for a week has appeal, too, but then how could I blog about it?
The idea, aimed primarily at kids, has always been to unplug from the TV habit for one week. Launched by Adbusters and others in 1994, computer screens, video games and even iPods are now targeted as viewers migrate to new media. Adbusters don‘t even call it TV Turnoff Week anymore, they call it Mental Detox Week. They are asking folks to bail on Facebook and Twitter, too. So far there are 10 billion members of the TV Turnoff Facebook group, at least according to the last 46,000 Twitter tweets I‘ve received. You see the problem.
For more information, including how to take part in the Great American Tweet Off, check out this link to the Center for Screen-Time Awareness.