In the early 1990s a national study indicated that 50 percent of 13-year olds in the United States watched three hours or more of television every day and that half of those (25 percent of 13-year olds in the United States) watched six hours or more of TV. There have been numerous studies since. All of them have found roughly similar patterns.

This winter Center Street started an initiative called "Center Street Unplugged" - a series of weeks without TV. The response has been excellent. Some of the parent comments have been wonderful:

1. "As a result of the Unplugged program our home has been TV Free after school until after dinner and some nights the kids don't ask for TV at all. What a difference!!!! Our board games/puzzles get so much use and we spend time together. Thanks for the encouragement."

2. "My husband is an Elementary Phys Ed teacher and is thinking about incorporating this 'unplugged' program into his curriculum too!! What a great domino effect."

As a parent I know how difficult the struggle can be, a struggle which we often lost. It is a battle, however, which needs to be fought. The alternatives - reading, play, some kind of sports, activities with the rest of the family, etc. - are all much healthier for mind and body.

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