Teacher Mike Fewster devised the Click Off Click On scheme at Eumemmering Secondary College in Melbourne less than a year ago. Now 90 schools and more than 3,000 students are involved and the number is expected to mushroom.
Families are encouraged to turn off the telly for a fortnight or more and opt for other activities that "promote a healthier, more personally enriching and community focused lifestyle". Mr Fewster realised it was not enough for a family just to turn off the TV and then sit around wondering what to do. So schools are sent guidelines on how they can prepare pupils and parents for switch-off time.
A number of companies are contributing to the scheme. Some have made their facilities, such as skating and aerobics classes, available free during the Click Off weeks. A building supply firm has provided material that enables students to "audit" their home. With this, they can work out what needs to be done - mending, painting, building something.
"I'd encourage all parents to give it a go," said Trish Chandler, a Melbourne mother of six. "For us, turning off the television meant we became a family again."