Stars back crusade for 'no TV' days

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The Independent US

Middle-class parents in the United States are beginning to enforce "no-television" days in their houses – and discovering that it produces happier, better-educated and healthier children who are learning how to play board games again.

Middle-class parents in the United States are beginning to enforce "no-television" days in their houses – and discovering that it produces happier, better-educated and healthier children who are learning how to play board games again.

Among those enforcing the new rules are Hollywood stars whose films often appear on television including Tom Cruise, Kate Capshaw and her husband, the film director Steven Spielberg.

With British children watching an average of 21 hours of television a week, and those in the US watching four hours more, a growing number of parents are insisting on a television-free day once a week.

In the UK and US, the organisation White Dot promoted 23 to 29 April as "TV Turn-Off Week" and claimed that five million people did just that. Its website ( whitedot.org) states that "Your television is giving you these messages: you are boring, the people you know are stupid ... and thank God you have television to bring glamour and professional entertainment into your life!"

Board-game manufacturers say they are selling more games as parents sit down with children to play favourites such as Scrabble.

Among entertainers, the message seems to be taking hold. Cruise said: "They are allowed [to watch] about three and a half hours a week, and only if they are doing well in school."

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