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Media Use Paper
Turn off your Television Week – April 19th through April 25th

(50 points)

Beginning at midnight on Sunday, April 18th through midnight Sunday, April 25th you are required to turn off your television (unplug it if that helps!) in celebration of the 10th Annual National TV-Turnoff Week. TV-Turnoff Network is really about more than just turning off your television – it is about making lifestyle changes in relation to our use of electronic screens, so ideally you should limit your use of computer screens including the Internet, computer and video games. Try to turn off everything that requires a battery or electricity and focus on people, play, activity and interpersonal connections for the week. You may need to use a computer screen for work or school activities, so I am not banning them, but asking you to limit their use for “productive” and “required” activities.

During this week, you will keep a journal of your daily activities and at the conclusion of the week you will write a paper in which you compare your typical week (when television was not banned) to this week. In preparation for this assignment, we will explore National media usage statistics and take a personal inventory of your media usage to create a media use benchmark and facilitate your comparison. This assignment is meant to cause you to reflect on how much time you spend engaged with the media, what impact media use has on your thinking, your lifestyle and your interpersonal activities. So, you will want to consider what other/new activities you engaged in while the television was off-limits.

Your paper should describe your media usage prior to this week based on the Media Use Inventory data we will develop in class, how your week went without television, and any long-term changes you hope to make in your media consumption patterns.

• First, draw some conclusions between your typical media use and the National averages when television is not banned from your daily routine.

• Then, reflect on your experience with banning television (and maybe even computer/video games) from your media consumption habits. Consider the following questions:

• Did you cheat? Why? How frequently?
• How did you resist temptation?
• Did you have support from roommates, friends, or family?
• How did you fill the time you typically spend watching television?
• Was your time spent more/less productively this week than normal?
• Was this assignment difficult? Why or why not?
• How did completing this assignment impact your attitudes toward television and/or media in society?

Your paper should be 3-5 pages, typed in a 10-12 point font and double-spaced.

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