Nick taking a costly, but good step

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 14, 2004

Nickelodeon is officially my favorite channel, but not for what they are showing. My newfound love for Nick springs from what they will not be showing in the fall.

Nick has begun a campaign to encourage children to spend more time outside experiencing life rather than living it through television programming.

On Saturday, Oct. 2 Nick will stop their regular programming from noon until 3 p.m. Rather than their normal shows the channel will have graphics telling children to go outside and play.

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That's a pretty big step for a network that has an estimated 1.5 million viewers during that time period.

Nick is putting a great deal of time and revenue into getting children back outdside. It is estimated they will spend about $10 million dollars on their "Lets just play" campaign.

Sure, they have money to burn, but a $10 million commitment is a lot of money no matter how you spin it.

Even when they come back on the air at 3 p.m. they will show a live music and sports special that encourages children to stay healthy and active.

Nick's commitment is a breath of fresh air. Too many children are wasting their youth sitting on a couch watching television shows that are of no true value.

At the same time they are forgetting how to entertain themselves. We are all becoming so reliant on tools such as television and the Internet we no longer know how to have fun without them.

To be blunt, kids are becoming just plain dull. The sense of adventure that used to come with being young is diminishing rapidly.

A child's creativity can also suffer heavily from sitting in front of a television all day. They never have a chance to formulate their own opinions or personality. They base their behavior on whatever characters they spend several hours a day watching.

The result is a population of young Pokemon.

I think a large part of the problem comes from adults who are doing the same thing. We are just as guilty of spending entirely too much time in front of the "idiot box."

I think Nick's campaign could be far more effective if the adult networks took the same action. You are never too old to peel yourself off the couch and spend time outside.

It would also force parents and children to spend time together. This shouldn't be necessary, but it is.

I know it would be almost impossible to ask all the networks to take a break for a while, but wouldn't it be nice?

It would be great to drive through a random neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon and see tree houses being built, or parents and their children participating in any of the millions of activities that make the outdoors a fun place to be.

I love television as much as anyone (probably more than most), but I always try to spend some time outside to remind myself there is more to life than T.V. Land.

Nick has been a part of the problem for a long time. Now they are ready to become part of the solution.

Rick Couch may be reached at

383-9302, ext. 132 or

via email at rick.