This picture from The Economist says a lot. Americans watch an average of 8 hours and 11 minutes of television per day.
DESPITE an increase in entertainment choices, watching television remains as popular as ever, according to the OECD's "Communications Outlook 2007". In 15 of the 18 countries for which data were collected, broadcast-TV viewing increased from 1997 to 2005. Only in Spain, New Zealand and South Korea did people watch less. America takes the couch-potato crown, with households goggling at the box for an eye-straining average of 8 hours and 11 minutes every day. The nearest rival, Turkey, only manages an average of five hours a day.
It doesn't say if that is for multiple TVs running at once, so perhaps two TVs each on for 4 hours, but I would bet that is the case. Regardless, 8+ hours of TV time is a lot of time spent sitting idle. An hour of TV is more than enough for me and I don't even do that daily. I have a hard time watching movies because they drag on so long and I find my mind wandering to everything else. I'm much more of an Internet person, so it's not like I'm out saving the whales or protecting the rainforests. I simply choose a different way to waste my time. I think as a nation though, this exemplifies our growing obesity problem. We eat more calories, more processed foods and move less. Those variables add up to increased waistlines.
I really can't get into reality TV. Watching other people live their lives, while I'm busy not living mine just isn't fun. We'd all (including me) be better off if we took our dogs for a walk or took the kids out for a game of catch, a stroll in the park, or a bike ride. I don't have kids of my own, but I imagine that would be a better bonding experience than staring idly at the TV.