Monday, February 05, 2007

The Television Effect

Does watching television make you fat? Does television make children dumb? Does it make adults dumb? Is television making us more violent? Is watching television ruining our ability to keep relationships?

I have heard all of these questions before and asked some of them myself. Obviously none of them have a blanket answer but I think just about anyone would agree that watching less television, whether child or adult, is a good thing. So I want to encourage all of us to get our fannies off the couch and away from the TV or computer or video games.

First I’ll start with some stats found online. I share these in order to hopefully scare you off your tush.

The US government's Health and Human Services Department (HHS) reports that nearly 61 percent of US adults and 13 percent of children and adolescents are overweight. The number of overweight adolescents has tripled since 1980. Of the 61 percent of overweight adults, nearly half are characterized as obese.
(link)

American children, ages 2-17, watch television on average almost 25 hours per week or 3 ½ hours a day. Almost one in five watch more than 35 hours of TV each week (Gentile & Walsh, 2002).

Twenty percent of 2- to 7-year-olds, 46% of 8- to 12-year-olds, and 56% of 13- to 17-year-olds have TVs in their bedrooms (Gentile & Walsh, 2002).

Children spend more time watching television than any other activity except sleeping.

Television’s impact on reading and other academic skills depends not only on the amount of television watched, but also on what is being watched as well as the age of the child (Reinking, 1990).

Successful readers read often.
(link)

(I guess this means most kids are successful TV watchers!!)

A 20-year-old man who watches TV three hours a day until the age of 70, could have extended his life six and a quarter years merely by turning off the TV.

OK, enough doom and gloom. I said this would be encouraging. Only good can come of turning off the TV. It’s actually quite liberating when you can finally bring yourself to miss an episode of whatever or a sports game or an entire sports season. So what can we gain by turning off our televisions?

How about a new hobby/skill? Playing piano? Woodworking? Sewing? A new language? Gardening? With an extra 30 minutes or more a day this is easily accomplished. Beware though; our brains are a little bit mushy from all that TV watching. We’re used to stories and concepts and ideas being given to us on a silver platter. We’re not used to creating them ourselves in our own minds anymore. It’s going to take some effort. Working out all the details of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry takes much more work and imagination when you haven’t already seen the movie. So take it slow, be patient and enjoy it!!

Want to get in better shape? Cutting out one sitcom a day will give you at least half an hour to fit a walk or run in. Or maybe you can even get that gym membership you’ve always wanted. If that’s still out of the budget check in with your local church or community center, they often have gyms and some sort of time for activities, usually free or very cheap!

The sad fact of the modern world is that, in the main, men do not read at all, and many women are captives to the escape romance novel, which is of such poor quality that it should not even be considered literature. We simply must raise our sights. (from Mark Lee's blog)

Yes, there is always reading. Lots to be learned and appreciated. Again, if you haven’t read much since you finished school then there will be a bit of a curve to get back into it. Sure a romance novel may not be raising our mental capacity much but starting with something easy will at least get you back into reading. I mentioned Harry Potter earlier, great book series to get you going. (New one coming our in March!!)

"The primary danger of the television screen lies not so much in the behavior it produces - although there is danger there - as in the behavior it prevents: the talks, the games, the family festivities and arguments..." link


If you know you may have a night of television watching ahead of you why not invite some friends or family over and turn it into a night of games. The interaction with your friends will be remembered and cherished long after the memory of your television show has disappeared.

Anyone feel the same??

GL

p.s. The ironic thing is I finish this post as I sit in the van for a 9+ hour drive watching reruns of American Idol!

4 comments:

John 2/05/2007 6:16 AM  

TV used to be such a large part of my life a few years ago but now I maybe watch 3 hours of TV a week. In fact I don’t even have cable anymore, im happy with my internet and msn even then I would much rather spend my nights with friends or working. During my x-mass vacation I spent the time with my family in BC and my young niece, I was put thru the joy of watching hours and hours and endless hours of children’s programming. I realized something watching this new generation of kids shows, for one no where could I find Mr. Dress up or Sesame Street or the bugs bunny and tweedy show or loony toons. What happened to all these great kids’ shows from when I was a kid? Apparently there too violent and a bad influence onto children. That’s a load of BS I watched those shows all my friends did and we are not out dropping safes on the heads of people. The way children’s programming has gone kids will grow up missing out of a great era and that’s too bad.

Brittany 2/05/2007 11:39 AM  

I Completely agree with you. About %50 of class time at school consists of the teachers trying to teach and my peers talking about the latest episode of American Idol or Heroes...I happen to watch Heroes, but i try to limit my T.V. watching to a few hours a week...it seems that my peers would rather spend time watching T.V. than going to basketball games or doing extracurriculars(Is that how you spell that?). Their loss.
~Brittany~

P.S. Keep up the great blogging!

Kathryn 2/05/2007 10:34 PM  

television is a strange and wonderful thing -- so many things, good and bad. So much crap and so much inspiration. So much information, too much information. So much brainwashing and so much enlightening. Aside from not being active while watching it, i find it to be an extra noise in my life. . when i really want some quiet or the good company of others. However, i watch what i like and do so without guilt. It isn't something to demonize or worship. It is as complex as we are. Thoughtful post, Glenn.

jono 2/12/2007 1:02 PM  

nice one, gleno! thanks for the thoughts and challenge. keep cranking it, mate!

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