Welcome to "The Media Generation"
Teens are spending so much time watching TV and playing with their computer and video games that the Kaiser Family Foundation has dubbed this generation "The Media Generation."
The recent study found that children aged 8-18 were watching TV, playing video games, on their computers, and listening to music for a total of 6 hours and 23 minutes EVERY DAY! Many kids were doing two or more activities at once. Most of this time is still spent watching TV. Kids spent almost four hours every day watching TV. With so much time in front of TV and other media, perhaps Kaiser should have labeled it "The Media-Addicted Generation."
What excess TV, video game, and computer use may be doing to you
How much time you spend in front of a TV, video, and computer screen is important, because these activities have been linked to obesity, attention problems (like ADHD), and poor grades. Violent content may condition you to accept violence in your life. The sexual content of many popular shows and games may encourage you to experiment before you are ready. The TV can act as a depressant, stifle your creativity, encourage conformity, and simply waste your valuable time.
Find out if you are part of "The Media-Addicted Generation":
1. Does your family have more than one TV set? Yes  No 
2. Are you in front of a screen for more than 2 hours per day?Yes  No 
3. Do you sometimes have trouble getting TV or video game
jingles "out of your head"? Yes  No 
4. Is there a TV/video game/computer playing in your
home much or all of the time? Yes  No 
5. Do you have a TV, video game, and/or computer in your
bedroom? Yes  No 
6. Is it easy for you to turn off the TV/video game in the
middle of a favorite show/game? Yes  No 
7. Do you ever rush home, ditching friends and family, to
catch a favorite TV show, play video games, or go on the
computer? Yes  No 
8. Do you frequently eat meals while in front of the TV,
video games, or computer? Yes  No 
9. Have you ever caught yourself unintentionally mimicking
a TV or video game character? Yes  No 
10. Do you talk to and play with your friends more than you
watch TV, play games, and play with computers? Yes  No 
11. Can you turn off the TV, computer, and video games OFF
right now and leave them off for three days? Yes  No 
12. Do you ever mindlessly surf through TV channels or
the internet? Yes  No 
13. Do you need TV, video game, or a computer to relax after
a rough day? Yes  No 
14. Do you feel edgy, anxious, or "not right" if there is no TV,
video game, or a computer playing? Yes  No 
15. Do you watch TV, play video games, and/or play on the
computer more than spend time with your family? Yes  No 
16. Do you ever watch the TV, play video games, or surf
the internet longer than you intend to? Yes  No 
17. Do you feel spend too much time with TV, video games,
or computer? Yes  No 
18. Have you missed a special event with friends or family
because you were watching a TV program? Yes  No 
19. Have you ever tried to quit watching TV, playing video
games, or going on computer, but were unsuccessful? Yes  No 
20. Do you have difficulty limiting the time you watch TV,
play video games, or go on the computer? Yes  No 
*Note: Time spent on the computer for homework purposes does not count:
To calculate your score:
For all questions, except for #6, #10, and #11, give yourself 1 point for every "Yes" answer and 0 points for every "No". For questions #6, #10, and #11 give yourself 0 points for every "Yes", answer and 1 point for every "No". Add your total.
Your total: ____________
0-6: Great! Your TV, computer, and video games are not in control of your life. You are. But keep an eye on how much time you spend with these activities to make sure an addiction does not sneak up on you.
7-14: You are moderately addicted to your TV, video games, or computer. Maybe all of them. The good news is that with a little effort, a list of fun non-screen activities, and a reasonable schedule you should be able to keep your addiction under control. "The TV-FREE System" also helps you create a schedule that keeps you busy with fun, goal-centered activities. Follow your dreams instead of staring at a screen..
15-20: Oh dear. You probably have a serious addiction problem. You may need to take extreme steps, including getting rid of your TV or video games, to get in control of your time. Start with the device which squanders the most of your time. The good news is "The TV-FREE System" was designed to help even the most serious addict, and can be used for video game, or computer addiction as well.
Life is too short to "watch" it go by.
Katherine Westphal is the guru of TV control, and the founder of Trash Your TV. Find out how you can get in control of your TV, video game, and computer use with The TV-Free System [http://tvfree.trashyourtv.com]. Get in control of your addiction today.