TV-Turnoff Week 2005 takes on intl flavour

MUMBAI: TV-Turnoff Week 2005 will have its largest international participation yet. TV-Turnoff Network which is a US nonprofit organization that encourages children and adults to watch much less television in order to promote healthier lives and communities made the announcement.

Activists in at least 10 countries are promoting TV-Turnoff events this year. TV-Turnoff Network executive director Frank Vespe says, "This growing movement to turn off TV and turn on life has not only taken root here in the United States but it is also catching fire around the world."

Ccountries where Turnoff events will occur include Australia, Brazil, Great Britain, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Italy and Mexico. These add to an effort that is expected to inspire more than 7.6 million Americans to break free of TV this April. TV Turnoff Week takes place from 25 April -1 May 2005.

While the US likely leads the world in hours of television watched, the medium's growth in other countries is resulting in increasing concerns among parents, teachers, doctors, and others that too much screen time displaces a wide variety of other healthy activities, including reading, exercise, and interaction with friends and family.

On average, American children watch about three hours of daily television and spend more than two hours each day in other screen time - videos, video games, computer games. American school children spend more time each year in front of the television set than in the classroom.

"TV-Turnoff Week 2005 presents an ideal way for kids and adults to take back time from the tube, What's more, for many people, participation in the Week becomes the springboard to lasting change: to reducing their screen time, to choosing what they do watch more selectively, and to making sure to make time for screen-free activities" added Vespe.

This year marks the eleventh annual TV-Turnoff Week celebration. In 2004, an estimated 7.6 million children and adults participated in over 19,000 organised Turnoffs in every state in the US.

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