Tuning Out

April 25, 2007 1 min read

On Monday, students at Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco were asked to sign a contract promising to go 10 days without television and video games. The pledge was a tough sell: “Why would we want to turn off the TV?” asked one 7th grader. School officials consider the plan—which coincides with the national TV-Turnoff Week, an annual event—a way to reduce bullying. The school is using a curriculum that has been shown to significantly reduce both physical and verbal aggression on the playground. Whether the kids will follow through remains to be seen. In fact, many children don’t think it’s possible to go a full day without TV, says Thomas Robinson, an associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford and one of the curriculum’s creators. The program “helps kids recognize you can live life without TV,” he said. “The world does not end.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.