April 21, 2005 2:07 PM PDT

Can your family go a week without computers?

Think your kids spend too much time online? The organizers of the first annual National PC-Turnoff Week hope families will soon learn to kick the habit.

Modeled after TV-Turnoff Week, PC-Turnoff Week runs Aug. 1 through Aug. 7 and is meant to raise awareness of the hazards of excessive computer use in the home.

Child-health experts are increasingly pointing to computers, along with televisions, as the culprits behind a national obesity epidemic among children. They also worry about the effect long hours at the computer may have on kids' social skills, grades and general well-being.

"There really need to be some limits set," said Joe Acunzo, co-founder of the PC-Turnoff Organization, the group behind the event, and father of a teenage "instant-messaging addict."

Questions about how much is too much come as children devote more time to electronic media than ever. Kids between the ages of eight and 18 spend an average of nearly 6.5 hours each day, or 44.5 hours each week, using computers, watching television and playing video games, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study. The study, released in March, also indicates kids are spending an hour more each day with video games and computers than they did five years ago.

So far, National PC-Turnoff Week lacks the resources and visibility of its television counterpart, the 11th annual incarnation of which starts Monday. National TV-Turnoff Week also calls for families to abstain from video games and the Internet. Eight million people are expected to participate.

Acunzo intends to establish the PC-Turnoff Organization as a nonprofit and fund the effort with donations.

But there's a business tie-in too. Acunzo and his business partner, Mark Sicignano, have long careers as software developers and now sell a software program called ComputerTime that's designed to help parents limit children's computer use. The program is available for download through their Web site for $39.95.

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Of course.
"The program is available for download through their Web site for $39.95."

Well, it wouldn't be worthwhile if there weren't SOME kind of business tie-in.

Personally, I use my pc for so much day-to-day stuff that PCTurnoff Week would be stupid.
I go to classes online, I pay bills, I communicate with distant family members, I buy books, among a ton of other things (including some gaming).
This is just another veiled attempt at cross promotion.

"But what about the CHILDREN?"
Stop giving your fat kids a Supersized CardiacArrest burger, along with a side of 4 racks of bbq ribs, people! I'd say feed them healthy food and teach them about nutrition... but that wont happen. Nobody cooks decent meals anymore because we don't have any TIME.

BTW, if the organizer has a problem with his daughter being on IM all day, guess what, she'd be on the phone all day otherwise... she's a young girl.. they do that. Be glad your phone is freed up.
Posted by (54 comments )
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It's called PARENTING!
Let's recap what the roles of a PARENT are!
1) Raise the kids with love and care
2) Make decisions for the kids for their well-being

Deceptively simple? Actually, no, it isn't. It's just deceptively hard to IMPLEMENT and ENFORCE!

If you lack the self-discipline to regulate Pc usage to healthy levels, then a PC lockout software isn't what you need, it's counselling. Think about it, would you buy an after-market TV add-on to lock out your TV?

Get real, folks! The solution is called the POWER button! Also known as On / Off or 0/1 switch. AND IT'S FREE!
Posted by Tex Murphy PI (165 comments )
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Stop eating junk food
May be we should start a week without junk food before turning off computers or the electricity and go camping. Bond with nature...
Posted by kmguru (12 comments )
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Not all families use PC to avoid responsibility
Wow, this is a perfect example of taking something out of context. TV is easily and broadly categorized as a drain on family bonding and parental responsibility - I agree with TV turn-off week, even though I know I couldn't get members of family to turn off our little bit of TV for that week. However, if I had to turn of my PC for a week I would not be able to do my job (self-employed) and therefore would not be able to provide for my family. Trust me, my children appreciate the time I spend at my laptop, and they also know that they are more important than my PC. People who need to turn off their TV need to gain balance and a TV turn off week will help to that end, I believe. However, those who expect that anyone can go without their PC for a week if they have one in use enough for it register on some 'PC user meter' is like expecting people who rely on eating to sustain themselves to stop eating for a week. Come on folks, let's get some perspective....
Posted by (1 comment )
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TV & PC Turn Off Week
The difference between TV & PC use is vast.

TV is a one way medium, in which no information is gleaned other than what the network sends, along with their 30% of content if not more being advertiser supplied & product placements masquerading as news.

An internet enabled PC is not merely an entertainment device...it's a tool for commmunication, economic growth, knowledge etc

with internet access...

ex. families can stay in touch affordably, across thousands of miles & time zones...

news retrivabale is searchable & customized...
job searches, e-bay and the likes make the PC an tool for economic enhancement

a PC without internet access is useless to me, I can go months without turning it on... the internet though is very valuable... and in today's age a true necessity...

a sad comment or not, but 5 days without internet access put me a month behind in various areas of my life...
Posted by lilmikesf (4 comments )
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