Media blackout

What? No TV for a week? Sounds like a sentence doled out to a kid who failed the midterm exam, came home an hour after curfew, and beat up his little brother all on the same day.
    But National TV Turn-Off Week, slated for the week of April 22-28, is more of a celebration than a punishment. It’s a time to get involved with the wide variety of electrifying activities that have nothing to do with a video screen.
    Among the groups in town offering cool alternatives to the tube is Crossroads Waldorf School. To kick things off, folks can roll off the couch on April 22 and join other families in a hearty hike along the trails at Ivy Creek Natural Area. The group will meet in the parking lot at 3pm for a one-hour jaunt through the springtime forest.
Since watching television is often a solitary inactivity, CWS gives kids ages 6-9 the chance to get together with other children to play some active, non-competitive indoor games on April 24 from 4-5pm. On April 27, kids can get creative with crafts from 11:30am-12:30pm. Both events take place at the Four Season’s Early Childhood Center.
    Parents can learn more about the disturbing effects of TV over-dosing on children and family life and ways to address them. A panel discussion with a local pediatrician, a teacher, and parents who have successfully limited TV in their homes takes place at CWS’s main campus in Crozet on April 18 from 6:30-7:30pm.
Jefferson-Madison Regional Library is supporting TV Turn-Off Week too, by inviting kids and families to make a pledge to cut down on media consumption. Kids will get a journal in which to record the things they do instead of watching TV and videos (like reading a great book, perhaps?). At the end of the week, they can return their results sheets and receive a book of their own from the library’s gift book collection. Participants who return the results sheets are also entered into a raffle for a TV Turn-Off T-shirt.
Northside Library hosts a special TV Turn-Off story time on April 25 at 4pm. Kids in kindergarten and up are invited to join the fun with stories and crafts. While there, families can check out the display wall full of ideas for alternatives to TV. Kids can post their own suggestions on the wall, which also presents some astonishing statistics about the effects of media on our lives.

All events are free and open to the public. Crossroad Waldorf School main campus is at 1408 Crozet Ave. Call 823-6805 for more information. Northside Library is in Albemarle Square. The story time event is free, but registration is required.  973-7893. All JMRL branches are participating in the TV Turn-Off contest. Call Central Library for more information 979-7151, ext. 3.