Parents Seek Solution To Child TV Addiction

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( — May 16, 2014) — THOMSON, Ill. – Parents long have suspected that too much television is bad for children, but two new studies likely will lead to more moms and dads hitting the “off” button.


In one study, researchers at Mass General Hospital for Children and the Harvard School of Public Health followed 1,800 children and found that for every hour of television a child watched, he or she slept seven less minutes a day. Additionally, a child with a TV in the bedroom corresponded with half an hour of less sleep a day, according to the study which was published in the journal “Pediatrics.”


In the other study, researchers found that children and teens ages 10-14 were significantly more likely to be obese if they had a TV in the bedroom. The study was conducted among 6,522 children and teens by researchers at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center.


Bill Heid, a historian and an executive producer of audio theater dramas that seek to get children away from television, said the problem of television addiction among kids is very real. Kids and teens, he said, spend an average of 50 hours a week staring at screens when including computers, tablets and smartphones.


“They’re being overstimulated, bombarded by graphic images,” Heid said. “We have more TVs than toilets now in our country. TV and movies actually shut down a child’s imagination. Everything is spoon fed to them.”


Parents are concerned about what their kids watch, according to surveys. A 2013 poll done for Common Sense Media and the Center for American Progress found that 75 percent of parents say protecting children from violent images is difficult, and 77 percent say content in TV, movies and video games contributes to the violence problem in America.


Heid has produced one kids’ audio drama, “Under Drake’s Flag,” and is producing another, “In Freedom’s Cause” with the goal of getting children not only away from the TV but to get them interested in history. Both are kid and family-friendly. “Drake” is bundled with curriculum, and “In Freedom’s Cause” will be, too.


In audio drama, he said, “you’re actively participating in the story” – something that does not happen with television.  


“You’re imagining what people look like, how they move and act, the setting that they’re in,” Heid said. “Children become the director, the costume creator, the sound technician, the set designer – fully engaged.”


“Under Drake’s Flag” tells the story of Sir Francis Drake through the eyes of a young boy who accompanies Drake on high sea adventures. The 16th-century Drake is best known for being the first Englishman to circle the globe and for his role in defeating the Spanish Armada.


“In Freedom’s Cause” will tell the story of William Wallace, the 13th– and 14th– century hero who led the fight for Scottish independence. Wallace was loosely portrayed in the movie “Braveheart.” Both CDs are based on GA Henty books.


Kirk Cameron and Glenn Beck each have praised “Under Drake’s Flag.”


“The quality of the production and the life lessons are nothing short of amazing,” Cameron said. “I strongly recommend this for families looking not only for wholesome entertainment, but a great fast-moving adventure story that brings Christian history to life. Our kids need real heroes that put God first.”


Beck called it “phenomenal … old-time story-telling.” “Drake” features composer John Campbell (“Lamplighter Theatre,” “Focus on the Family Radio Theatre,” “Adventures in Odyssey”) and award-winning art sound designer Mark Drury (“The Chronicles of Narnia”).


“Under Drake’s Flag is a rip-roaring adventure story that teaches foundational moral values and brings true Christian history to life. … There’s simply nothing like it,” Beck said.


“In Freedom’s Cause” will feature Joanne Froggatt, who plays Anna Bates in the award-winning PBS series “Downton Abbey,” along with Billy Boyd (Pippin in “Lord Of The Rings”), Skandar Keynes (Edmund in the “Chronicles of Narnia” series), and Jimmy Cosmo (Campbell, Father Christmas in “Braveheart” and “Chronicles of Narnia,” respectively).


Heid is attending the NICHE homeschool conference in Des Moines, Iowa, May 15-17, and says he has received great feedback from parents about “Drake.” He also attended the Family Covenant Ministries’ 30th Annual Conference and Curriculum Fair in St. Charles, Mo., May 5-7.


He is available for interviews to discuss audio theater, the current state of education in America, the problem of television addiction, and the need for children to learn real history.


Heirloom Audio Productions

2200 Illinois Route 84

P.O. Box 518
Thomson, Illinois 61285


Heirloom Audio Productions

2200 Illinois Route 84
Thomson, Illinois 61285