Television Statistics and Sources

TV - FREE AMERICA

According to the A.C. Nielsen Co. (1998), the average American watches 3 hours and 46 minutes of TV each day (more than 52 days of nonstop TV-watching per year).

According to the A.C. Nielsen Co. (1998), the average American watches 3 hours and 46 minutes of TV each day (more than 52 days of nonstop TV-watching per year). By age 65 the average American will have spent nearly 9 years glued to the tube.

I. FAMILY LIFE

1. Percentage of US households with at least one television: 98
2. Percentage of US households with at least one VCR: 84
3. Percentage of US households with two TV sets: 88.7
4. Hours per day that TV is on in an average US home: 7 hours, 12 minutes
5. Percentage of Americans that regularly watch television while eating dinner: 66
6. Number of videos rented daily in the US: 6 million
7. Number of public library items checked out daily: 3 million
8. Chance that an American falls asleep with the TV on at least three nights a week: 1 in 4
9. Percentage of Americans who say they watch too much TV: 49
10. Number of hours of media consumed daily by the average American in 1998: 11.8


II. TV HARMS CHILDREN AND HAMPERS EDUCATION

1. Average number of hours per week that American one year-old children watch television: 6
2. Number of hours/week recommended by the American Pediatric Association for children two and under: 0
3. Number of minutes per week that the average American child ages 2-11 watches television: 1,197
4. Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 38.5
5. Number of minutes per week that the average American child ages 2-11 watches television: 1,197
6. Average number of hours per week that American youth ages 12-17 watch television: 20 hours, 20 minutes
7. Hours of TV watching per week shown to negatively affect academic achievement: 10 or more
8. Percentage of time children ages 2-7 spend watching TV alone and unsupervised: 81
9. Percentage of day care centers that use TV during a typical day: 70
10. Percentage of parents who would like to limit their children’s TV watching: 73
11. Percentage of 4-6 year-olds who, when asked to choose between watching TV and spending time with their fathers, preferred television: 54.
12. Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1,154
13. Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900
14. Chance that an American parent requires that children do their homework before watching TV: 1 in 12
15. Percentage of teenagers who can name the city where the US Constitution was written (Philadelphia): 25
16. Percentage of teenagers who know where you find the zip code 90210 (Beverly Hills): 75
17. Percentage of “educational” TV that has little or no educational value: 21
18. Average number of hours per day American children spend in front of a screen of some kind: 4.35


III. TV PROMOTES VIOLENCE AND UNHEALTHY LIFESTYLES

1. Number of violent acts the average American child sees on TV by age 18: 200,000
2. Number of murders witnessed by children on television by the age 18: 16,000
3. Percentage of youth violence directly attributable to TV viewing: 10
4. Percentage of Hollywood executives who think there is a link between TV violence and real-life violence: 80
5. Percentage of Americans that believe TV and movies are responsible for juvenile crime: 73
6. Percentage of children polled who said they felt “upset” or “scared” by violence on television: 91
7. Percent increase in network news coverage of homicide between 1993 and 1996: 721
8. Percent reduction in the American homicide rate between 1993 and 1996: 20
9. Percent increase in number of violent scenes per hour on 10 major channels from 1992 to 1994: 41
10. Number of medical studies since 1985 linking excessive television watching to increasing rates of obesity: 12
11. Percentage of American children ages 6 to 11 who were seriously overweight in 1963: 4.5; 1993: 14
12. Number of ads aired for “junk-food” during four hours of Saturday morning cartoons: 202

IV. TV PROMOTES EXCESSIVE COMMERCIALISM

1. Estimated number of TV commercials seen by American children before graduating high school: 360,000
2. Number of TV commercials seen by the average American by age 65: 2 million
3. Percentage of toy advertising dollars spent on television commercials in 1997: 92
4. Percentage of local TV news broadcast time devoted to advertising: 30

V. AND A FEW OTHER FACTS. . .

1. Total amount candidates spent on television ads during the 1996 political campaigns: $2.5 billion
2. Amount of free time broadcasters must provide to candidates under 1996 telecommunications act: 0
3. Value of public airwaves allocated to broadcasters at no cost under 1996 telecommunications act: $70 billion
4. Amount spent on lobbying by TV broadcasters & the National Association of Broadcasters, 1996: $4 million
5. Number of network news stories about the environment in 1990: 377; 1996: 113
6. Percentage of Americans who can name The Three Stooges: 59
7. Percentage of Americans who can name three Supreme Court Justices: 17

SOURCES

I. FAMILY LIFE

1) Nielsen Media Research, 1998.
2) ibid.
3) ) Senate Judiciary Committee Staff Report, “Children, Violence, and the Media.” 1999, p.2.
4) Nielsen Media Research, 1998.
5) Gomrey, Douglas, “As the Dial Turns,” Wilson Quarterly, Fahey, Valerie, “TV by the Numbers,” Health, December/January, 1992. p. 35.
6) Fahey, Valerie, “TV by the Numbers,” Health, December/January, 1992. p. 35.
7) ibid.
8) Harper’s
9)”Index,” January 1996.
10) Fahey, p.35.
11) Mediaweek, April 20, 1998, p.8.

II. CHILDREN

1) Nielsen Media Research, 1998.
2) American Family Research Council, “Parents Fight ‘Time Famine’ as Economic Pressures Increase,” 1990.
3) BJK&E Media report, The New York Times, December 30, 1997.
4) ibid.
5) Tashman, Billy, “Sorry Ernie, TV Isn’t Teaching,” The New York Times, November 12, 1994.
6) “Strong Families, Strong Schools, Building Community Partnerships for Learning,” US Department of Education, 1994.
7) Mango, Jack, “TV in America” reprinted from The Official Couch Potato Handbook, Wilson Quarterly, Autumn 1993. p.44.
8) “Strong Families, Strong Schools, Building Community Partnerships for Learning,” US Dept. of Education, 1994.
9) “National Assessment of Educational Progress,” US. Dept. of Education, 1994.
10) Barber, Benjamin, Harper’s, November 1993, p.41.
11) ibid.
12) Harper’s “Index,” September, 1996.
13) Survey conducted by the National Constitution Center
(NCC), Philadelphia, 1998. 14) ibid.

III. VIOLENCE AND HEALTH

1) Schorr, Daniel, Christian Science Monitor, September 7, 1993.
2) “Physician Guide to Media Violence,” American Medical Association, 1996.
3) US News and World Report, April 8, 1997.
4) MTV national survey, Chicago Tribune, August 15, 1993.
5) “Living in Fear,” Los Angeles Times, August 23, 1998.
6) ibid.
7) TV-Free America Survey, 1998.
8) “Physical Activity and Good Nutrition,” National Centers for Disease Control report, 1998.
9) Center for Science in the Public Interest report, Washington DC, 1991.

IV. COMMERCIALISM

1) Consumer Reports, February 1998.
2) Clark, “The Want Makers,” p. 195: cited in Marketing Madness, by Michael Jacobsen and Laurie Mazur, p. 45.
3) Lamay, Craig and Newton Minow, Abandoned in the Wasteland: Children, Television and the First Amendment,1995
4) Toy Manufactures of America, 1998-1999 Industry Fact Book, New York, 1998.

V. GENERAL 1) ROCKY MOUNTAIN MEDIA WATCH, DENVER, 1995
2) ibid.
3) ibid.
4) Frank, Reuven, editorial, Los Angeles Times, January 6, 1997.
5) Washington Post Poll, Washington Post, October, 12 1995.
6) ibid.

Compiled by: TV-Free America 1611 Connecticut Avenue, NW Suite 3A, Washington, DC 20009 (202) 887-0436
tvfa@essential.org

Copyright © 2000 TV-Free America


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