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A TV-Turnoff Bookshelf

Good Books for Getting Into Turning Off Television

By Aaron Shepard

For more treats and resources, visit Aaron Shepard at www.aaronshep.com.

Copyright © 1998–2002, 2014 Aaron Shepard. May be freely copied and shared for any noncommercial purpose as long as no text is altered or omitted.

Here are just a few recommended books, articles, and stories on how and why to turn off TV, especially for kids. Most links are for more info at Amazon.com, an affiliate.

The Plug-In Drug: Television, Computers, and Family Life, by Marie Winn, Penguin, 2002. An updated edition of the classic book on the effects of TV on kids. If you can read just one book on the subject, this is it.

Unplugging the Plug-In Drug, by Marie Winn, Penguin, 1987. Practical advice and case studies for families, schools, and communities.

Glued to the Tube: The Threat of Television Addiction to Today’s Family, by Cheryl Pawlowski, Sourcebooks, 2000. How TV distorts perceptions and values and undermines family life.

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, by Jerry Mander, Morrow, 1978. Another classic work, by a former ad man. An insightful analysis of the inherent limitations and biases of television from a cultural standpoint.

Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood, by Susan Linn, The New Press, New York and London, 2004. An incisive and impassioned look at the intense and comprehensive marketing to children by American business, in which TV plays a major part. Highly recommended!

Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture, by Juliet B. Schor, Scribner, New York, 2004. Another excellent study of today’s marketing to children, more scholarly than Susan Linn’s but equally engaged.

Feed, by M. T. Anderson, Candlewick, 2002. A critique of teen consumerism in the form of a brilliant and disturbing young adult science fiction novel. Rated PG for language and mild sexual situations.

Endangered Minds: Why Our Children Don’t Think and What We Can Do About It, by Jane M. Healy, Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 1991. On the crisis in childhood brain development in our society, drawing on insightful investigation and solid scientific research. Includes a discussion of TV’s role and an entire chapter on the harmful effects of “Sesame Street.” A very important book!

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, by Robert D. Putnam, Simon & Schuster, 2000. Includes a well-documented chapter about television as the major cause of diminishing social connectedness since the 1950s.

“Television Addiction,” by Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Scientific American, Feb. 2002. An authoritative article on the addictive nature of the medium. Available for online sale from the magazine, www.scientificamerican.com.

Peddler Polly and the Story Stealer,” by Aaron Shepard. My own TV-turnoff story, available on my Web site. It’s also found there as a scripted Reader’s Theater Edition.

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