Letter of the Day (Jan. 8): Screen time

  • Updated: January 7, 2014 - 5:55 PM

If you’re typical, it’ll add up to 11.71 years for television alone.

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Photo: Paul Gonzales • Los Angeles Times/MCT,

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We all need a little escape to television land from time to time. But consider the overall impact. Media researchers report that average Americans spend a little more than 24 hours per week, or roughly 1/7 of their lives, watching television. Given a life span of 84 years, and assuming that you watch no television during your first couple of years, that translates to 11.71 years. And that’s not the scary part.

Currently, commercial television runs 18 minutes of advertisements each hour. It works out to roughly 42 commercials per hour. Thus, if you make it to the ripe old age of 84, you will have spent 3.5 years watching commercials (about 30 percent of the total). If you don’t watch commercial television, or if you can salve your conscience by prerecording and cleverly blocking the ads out, you are still frittering away one hell of a lot of years.

Now add to those years the amount of time you spend during an average day on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, other Internet sites and on your cellphone.

As my grandpa used to say: “Kind of makes you think.”

Does your life seem too busy? If you are an average American (and who would admit to that?) and you cut your television time in half, to 12 hours per week, you would free up an amount of time equivalent to 26 days a year.

CHET MEYERS, Minneapolis

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