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‘TV Off’ Experiment Transforms Small Island

Posted March. 18, 2008 03:03,   


Darang Island is a lonely place that requires a two-hour boat ride to reach. Residents from Feb. 4 spent three weeks taking part in a unique experiment, following the suggestion of Experiment Project X, an EBS TV program.

Twenty-eight residents comprising ten households agreed to go without watching TV for three weeks. The program’s production team set up surveillance cameras in front of all TVs of the participants, attached a sheet of paper reading “Banned” on the screens, and turned them off for three weeks.

When the TVs were turned on again three weeks later, did anyone resume sitting in front of the TV talking about dramas like in the old days?

One resident “Han” shook his head. “The grandson of the village leader, [Choi] Seung-wan (4), used to sit in front of the TV all day,” he said, “but now he and I enjoy reading children’s stories together.

“My wife used to find it hard to read, but we studied together, which was all the better. With our eyes gone weak, we prefer children’s books.”

Twenty-six of the adults who took part in the “TV Off” study answered questionnaires ten days before the end of the experiment. Most of them said their lives grew much richer with increased time for reading, conversations between husbands and wives, or religious activities.

Before the experiment, 24 of the adults said they didn’t read newspapers, but that number decreased to 15 afterwards. The number of people who read newspapers one or two days a week also increased from two to ten people.

Husbands and wives said they talked more to each other. Eight said they had almost no time for conversation before the experiment, but none said so afterwards. Those who said conversation became part of their daily lives increased from 14 percent (four people) to 35 percent (10).

Village leader Choi Dae-mun said, “My eyes used to be glued to the TV but now I look at my wife, and find her prettier than before. I help her put skin pack on her face at nights. Life’s become more fun!”