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Turn off the Tube. Turn on Your Brain.

Turn off the Tube. Turn on Your Brain.

"By Day Three, my four-year-old needed a cartoon and she needed it bad."

So writes one mom who talked (cajoled? wheedled? pressured?) her family into turning off television (and other media, too) for an entire week.

Mother of two Karen Linamen says her family's TV-free week was filled with sobering discoveries. She describes a conversation in which she asked her cartoon-starved four-year-old if she'd rather watch TV or do something fun like wrestle with her dad or do a puzzle with her mom. Her daughter's answer to both questions? "Watch TV."

Linamen writes, "The kid was scaring me. Actually, what was scaring me was seeing how deeply television had infiltrated our lives."

This mom isn't alone. Half of all Americans think they watch too much TV, and 7 out of 10 parents say they'd like to limit how much TV their kids watch. And during National Turn Off TV Week–held this year from April 17 – 23–these individuals and families are finding the support they need to take action and embrace an entire week of tubeless living.

National Turn Off TV Week is sponsored by TV Free America, a national nonprofit organization founded in 1994 to raise awareness about the harmful effects of excessive television-watching, and to encourage Americans to reduce the amount of television that they watch.

And there are certainly plenty of reasons to do so.

Studies on how television impacts the brain reveal that television induces low Alpha waves in the brain. Too much TV can cause unfocused daydreaming and an inability to focus, and has been linked to ADHD. It also puts us in a brain state that is highly susceptible to suggestion (no wonder companies spend more than $200 billion each year on advertising, exposing Americans to anywhere between 300 and 3000 advertising messages every day!)

LearningRx, the largest one-on-one brain training company in the world, supports National Turn Off TV Week, proposing that families fill that time with activities that are not only healthier for the brain, but for family relationships as well.

The Linamen family filled their TV-free week with family games, puzzles and crafts. (Read the entire article.) Linamen reports that her daughters were not only more creative, but that overall family members seemed more "in sync." Plus, it was much easier to wrangle help around the house without the competition of Television. "I can't say my kids suddenly begged to set the table or pick up toys," she says, "but there was a marked difference in attitude. Best yet, I went a whole week without having to hear the words, 'But I can't! I'm right in the middle of a show!'"