LETTER: Switch off TV addiction

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The Independent Online
Sir: Regarding Peter Popham's article, "Perils of a zap-happy life" (25 March). Up to the age of two my son became increasingly drawn to television, switching it on first thing in the morning, without bothering to eat breakfast or say good morning to his parents. It was then difficult to prise him away and the TV's noise made it impossible to listen to the radio or read a paper.

I asked my son, would he like to go and play football in the park? No, came the reply. Would he like to ride his bike in the park? No. Would he like to go swimming? No. What would he like to do? Watch television. And then one day I heard myself describe my child as hard work, when I really felt that I hardly knew him. It was clear. The TV had to go.

The first TV-free month was, in my experience of child-rearing, the hardest thing I have ever done. Weaning James off television involved organised activities, all day, every day, from early morning to bedtime and he resented the fact that the television had been removed. After about a month, however, things changed dramatically: he started to forget about the TV, mornings were relaxed and our son was conversing with us.

Getting rid of the TV was the best thing we have ever done as it gave us a period in which to adjust in peace and quiet. We now select which programmes we watch, discussing what the programme offers us, and my children watch about four hours' television per week.

Linda Browning

London SE3

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