At-risk categories are kids and elderly people. The average American kid spends more time watching TV than attending school. Kids eat while watching TV, and they may do the same while doing homework. Elderly people watch TV even more than kids, since this is their main entertainment at home. TV is inherent in our lives. It is natural for a person to enter an apartment, switch on the light, then switch on the TV, and then keep on doing other things. The problem is not with watching – the problem is with watching what: breeding violence and aggression through horror films or being stupefied by silly talk shows of many kinds. TV is becoming one of our main leisure activities, a source of ready-made stereotypes and new myths, a passive view of the world thrust on us from the angle of the camera that may distort the reality out of recognition. We like TV and hate it because we are addicted to it.
High quality TV is always positive. So, learn to switch on the right channel. The average American citizen watches TV as if it were a half-time job: four hours daily. By retirement, the average American citizen will have spent nine non-stop 24 hour-a-day years glued to lights on the TV screen. TV is powerful because it is politically oriented; it establishes public standards, it denies alternative thinking; it only simulates a variety of opinions, hiding back the ideology of mass conformism.
Watching too much TV dehumanizes you, weakens your little gray cells, and makes your critical and reflective thinking abortive. Have you ever been internally protected from watching the idiot box too much? Have you tried to balance TV and other entertainment alternatives?
TV plays with TV viewers, as if it were a cat and all of us were mice. We are eaten, turning into TV products, since we buy what the box recommends us to buy, we want to have such looks as our TV favorites have. We are programmed, we are told how to relate to events, how to feel in certain situations. All TV tricks are hidden from us, but their influences are similar to the invasion of a body by cancer cells. Once a TV addict, there is no way back to real life.
TV has harmful influences on us because it is mainly a passive activity. Lying on a sofa, peeping from behind a cushion, snoring at the peak of an interesting program, we stimulate activity, hearing without listening to, being entertained as if we were programmed and tuned. Too much of TV is stupefying. Too much of TV is staying away from the process of living. Too much of TV is getting used to ready-made opinions, to stereotyped prejudices, to mediocrity, to mass production that dehumanizes when it is taken for granted and believed wholly. Don’t let you life become a Brazilian soap opera!
There is no chance to escape from the influence of television. But there is a chance to reduce negative influences of TV, selecting high quality programs and limiting time watching TV. Find an alternative to TV. But if you are a TV addict, stick to your addiction sincerely. Keep away from chewing your snacks or drinking your bitter. You’re not Caesar to do several things simultaneously with the same perfect result. Otherwise, your TV becomes some interfering noise, which you desperately need to fill in your life, like your fill in your empty stomach with harmful snacks. Keep on a TV diet of Oprah’s show and CNN news but stay away from advertisements, simply living your room to do the washing, to water the flowers, to brush your teeth.
TV does not have a negative impact on our society. It is a powerful source of information and a huge industry of entertainment that is inherent in our lives. Like anything, it is good when it is balanced with other leisure pursuits.