It is a disturbing statistic that according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube. In children the following hold true:
Approximate number of studies examining TV’s effects on children: 4,000
Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful
conversation with their children: 3.5
Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680
Percentage of day care centers that use TV during a typical day: 70
Percentage of parents who would like to limit their childrens’ TV watching: 73
Percentage of 4-6 year-olds who, when asked to choose between watching TV
and spending time with their fathers, preferred television: 54
Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours
Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500
Percentage of households that possess at least one television: 99
Number of TV sets in the average U.S. household: 2.24
Percentage of U.S. homes with three or more TV sets: 66
Number of hours per day that TV is on in an average U.S. home: 6 hours, 47 minutes
Percentage of Americans that regularly watch television while eating dinner: 66
Number of hours of TV watched annually by Americans: 250 billion
Value of that time assuming an average wage of S5/hour: S1.25 trillion
Percentage of Americans who pay for cable TV: 56
Number of videos rented daily in the U.S.: 6 million
Number of public library items checked out daily: 3 million
Percentage of Americans who say they watch too much TV: 49
What may not be so well examined are the other costs involved with television watching specifically as it relates to the Tampa Bay area:
The amount and cost of the electricity to run two televisions in the average American household for 4 hours each a day each= $115.20 per year (at .08 cents per kilowatt).
The average cost of expanded cable television per household in the Tampa Bay area= $75.00 per month or $900.00 per year.
A minimum wage employee would have to work 140 hours or 3.5 weeks straight just to pay for this television habit of $1,015.20 per year and we, as Americans do it consistently and without thinking. In fact, the cost to society of this habit is truly immeasurable for so many reasons, but put in perspective, this $1,015.20 per year, compounded annually for ten years with a paltry average interest rate of 3% would total $11,987.51, enough to pay tuition and fees for 5.1 years at Hillsborough Community College.
A lesser known fact about the Tampa Bay area…now that local stations are mainly run in HD, at a distance of 25 miles from downtown Tampa, 27 channels can be received free of charge with a regular antenna placed in the attic of a home within the 25 mile radius. These channels have HD quality and include all the main networks.
It is also a fact that children in homes without expanded cable watch, on average, 6.5 hours of television less per week and the shows they are watching are more educational since PBS is more commonly watched as it is widely available via antenna country-wide. There currently are no statistics available on the obesity rates in households without cable television compared to those with, but the connection between obesity and hours of television viewing has already been made clear so perhaps it’s time, for our kids sake to cut the cable.