Online College Courses for Credit

Trash Your TV

Trash Your TV

Author: Amee Wittbrodt
  • Understand, analyze, evaluate, and use different types of print, digital, and multimodal media.
  • Critically analyze information found in electronic, print, and mass media and use a variety of these sources.
  • Gain an understanding of the amount of time Americans spend watching TV and compare that to other countries throughout the world.
  • Analyze the amount of time you spend watching TV and determine if you are addicted or not.
  • Read and question the most recent Kaiser Family Foundation Report called "Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year Olds."
  • Consider the placement the TV in a household and determine the impact this has on the room.


This packet presents basic information about television viewing habits and asks students to analyze how much they watch TV and the importance it has in their life. Students will read a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation to learn more information about media in the lives of 8-18 year olds and explore the Nation Master website to compare and contrast TV viewing habits on a global scale.

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Background Information

TV time:

How much do you really watch?


"I don't watch that much TV," says the average person, "just a few hours here and there."  Unfortunately, the average person, according to the most recent figures from Nielsen Media Research Inc., watches TV for 4 hours and 35 minutes every day. Furthermore, the average household has a TV playing for 8 hours 14 minutes every day.

Let's add that up. Perhaps 4 hours and 35 minutes does not seem like that much time. It probably does not feel like that much time, since the hours seem to fly by when you are engrossed in a TV program.

However, per week that adds up to just over 32 hours. That is 32 hours EVERY week. For adults, that looks like nearly a full time job. For children, that means their TV sets are educating them more than their schoolteachers are.

Per month, that adds up to 136 hours, or 5 days 16 hours. The average American is spending more than 5½ solid days EVERY month watching TV.

Over the course of a year, the average American spends over 69 solid days watching TV. That is over two solid months every year. Over a lifetime of 72 years, that adds up to over 13 years.

Not only is that a lot of time, it is an insane amount of time.

The Media Generation


Discussion Questions

  1. What was your score on the TV Quiz?
  2. What does your score say about your television viewing habits? Do you agree or disagree? Why?
  3. T/F? According to the latest figures, the average person watches over 4 hours of TV daily.
  4. T/F? The average American is spending more than 5½ solid days EVERY month watching TV.
  5. T/F? If you live to be 72 years old, the average person will have spent 25 years watching TV.
  6. Television Data  According to the Nation Master website, which country ranks #2 for the highest number of TVs overall?
  7. According to the website, which country has the lowest number of TVs overall?
  8. Change the view on the Nation Master website by clicking on VIEW DATA: Per Capita. For every 1,000 people, how many televisions does the United States have?
  9. Time to Think- China ranks #1 for the highest number of TVs, but per capita, ranks #62 with 306.205 TVs per 1,000 people. Why is this? What accounts for this difference? Explain.
  10. The statistics presented on the NationMaster website are from 2003. Consider the United States. Since 2003, do you think we now have more or less TVs? Why? Explain.  Please include 2 specific reasons to support your opinion.
  11. The author of this website is they are a massive central data source and a handy way to graphically compare nations. They compile data from such sources as the CIA World Factbook, UN, and OECD. After viewing this website, do you find the information accurate, reliable, and/or creditable? Why?
  12. After viewing the "Generation M2" presentation, choose one slide to analyze and write a paragraph summing up the findings and implications of the slide.
  13. Consider the placement of the TV you watch the most in your home. Describe where it is and how the room is arranged. What does this say about the importance of TV in your life? Explain.
  14. In the following picture, notice that the television is the focal point of the room. All of the furniture is arranged around the TV. Regardless of where people sit, they can easily see the TV. The TV is in a cabinet, so the doors can be closed sometimes. What do these facts tell you about the importance of television in this household?