TV turn off week challenges people to go without television.

Over seven million people throughout the United States, Canada and Australia have been trying life without their daily ration of television. It's a concept which is just beginning to take off here. RTÉ News meets two families one who gave up the box for a week and another who have no television at all.

Imagine that by the time you die you'll have spent eight years watching television.

'International TV Turn Off Week' is part of an initiative backed by healthcare professionals and psychologists and is catching on in Ireland. The average Irish teenager watches three hours of television a day and by the time they are eighteen, they'll have seen about half a million television commercials, 16,000 murders, and around 200,000 acts of violence. 

The Curtis family does not have a television in their home. Susan Curtis describes their home as being more tranquil without the constant noise of the television. 

If TV was compulsory, I'd actually pay not to have a TV.

Simon Curtis says that taking television out of their lives has given them more time to do other things. 

The Gordon family, on the other hand, are regular TV viewers. As part of a school experiment, they gave up television for one week. Colin Gordon felt that he was living a bit disconnected from society without the television and he missed out on documentaries and news. For Sue Gordon, the experiment highlighted the need for a better balance when it comes to watching television. 

Child psychologist Nollaig Rowan describes the positive outcomes from watching television in providing a stimulus for conversation around life's problems.  

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 25 April 2003. The reporter is Anne Marie Smyth.