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Parents: Know Which Shows (and Where) Your Kids Are Watching!

Broadcast and Cable Television overall viewer ratings are down this year (in part due to the writers' strike) with the biggest drop among girls 12-17.

One reason is that teens aren’t always watching TV shows on their television screens. A study released earlier this week by the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing found that while 83 percent of teens still watch TV on television, many, 44 percent, also view it on desktop computers.

Some 24 percent watch TV on their laptops, 15 percent on a portable media player like the iPod, and 8 percent watch via cell phone.

Forty-four percent say they’ve viewed sitcoms on these devices, while 36 percent have watched dramas this way. Notably, one of the top TV shows in the iTunes store is “Gossip Girl,” which has a high concentration of female teen viewers. (MediaLifeMagazine.com [4-11-08])

Also...Watching television makes us unhappy. The University of California-San Diego in a recent study found that over the last 40 years, while Americans' standard of living has increased, their happiness levels haven't -- and watching too much TV is largely to blame.

In the study, scientists surveyed 4,000 people about events of the previous day, then asked them to rate the activities on whether they felt happy or unhappy.

Comparing the answers of people surveyed in 2005 with answers from 1965, the study found that people today have more free time, but use it to watch more TV.

Too much TV is to blame, according to David Schkade, a professor of management at the University of California, San Diego.

The problem is that television viewing is often done in isolation. But more active, stimulating recreation and group activities are what help us feel connected and content, Schkade said.

"Make the effort to go out and engage with your family or friends or exercise or read. It would make your life better," he said. (DailyBreeze.com [4-12-08])

The study also determined that peoples' happiness is greatest when they are engaged with a close community, and participate in cooperative activities such as sports, church or charities. Active, stimulating recreation and interaction with others help people feel connected and content.