The idea of television began to be developed as early as the 1820s, according to historians. Many inventors across the world had a hand in making television a reality. The first electronic television picture was broadcast in 1927 by Philo Farnsworth of Beaver, Utah, who was 21 years old at the time and spent decades in battles over a patent. In the 1930s, televisions began to be the centerpiece of families’ living rooms everywhere. Life in these United States has never been the same. Researchers have a lot to say about television, and there is no doubt about the fact that there are many reasons to be very careful about limiting the amount of time spent watching TV. Another thing they agree on is that statistics are clear: Seniors watch more television than any other age group.
Television: A Pandora’s Box?
An honest look at television will probably always produce at least this one conclusion: Television is a Pandora’s Box. In other words, through the television, all of the evils of the world enter our homes. (Of course, the same is now also true of the Internet.) The effects of watching television are broad, and it’s not just that evil characters and their violent or naughty behavior comes in through the news and through fictional shows. Negative influences invade our lives through TV shows and the commercials that fund them. Think of this article series as a debate, and consider these ideas about the negatives of television:
- Our belief systems can be poisoned by watching television. For instance, when we watch funny comedies, we often laugh at things that we inherently know are wrong, such as jokes about people who are different than ourselves. The way we see the world is affected by every show we watch.
- When we watch television, we are almost invariably looking at beautiful people who are appealing enough to win a spot on the big screen. This sets up unrealistic expectations of life. People don’t look as good in everyday life as they do on television shows, and it can cause us to expect more than we should of ourselves and others.
- Looking at the heroic men with buff bodies and the gorgeous women on television, we can easily begin to feel inadequate. The truth is that advertisers want us to feel bad enough about ourselves so that we buy things to improve our looks, to bring our appearance more up to the standards we see on TV.
- Our self-control is diminished because of the amazing psychological hooks that are intentionally woven into television programming, which makes it very difficult for us to resist the urge to keep on watching.
- Noticed a change in children as compared to when you were a child? Children are more materialistic when television is a normal part of their weekly routine. It’s not their fault, though! Research proves that a huge chunk of commercial and entertainment programming is aimed at children, who consistently ask their parents for the goodies they see on TV.
- Television is almost completely commerce driven. Every show on the air is there to make money for the advertisers and producers of the shows. The part that isn’t commerce-driven is aimed at shaping belief systems, and it usually has to do with surrendering traditional ways of doing things and of thinking.
- Do you ever think about how valuable your time is? There isn’t any research which shows that the fun of watching TV can make up for the amount of lost time that could have been spent talking to loved ones, enjoying nature, playing games, getting exercise, engaging in sports, reading a great book, and just living life in general. What about our dreams and goals? There is a good chance that millions have missed out on realizing their dreams simply because of all the time spent in front of the TV.
- Parents who spend significant amounts of time watching TV provide an example for their children. A sedentary lifestyle is not a healthy lifestyle, and it’s not the kind of influence most parents want to have on their children, if they really think about it. Who can deny that vegging out in front of the TV is enjoyable and easy and can make us forget that there are far more important things that we could be doing with the limited amount of time we have on this earth?