I’m going to start off by saying that watching TV in its entirety is not harmful for you. I’ll be the first to say that kicking back and watching some football or a movie, on occasion, is quite good. This article is, however, focused on those who spend significant amounts of time in front of the TV screen. I’m talking about hours on end, and on a daily basis. Yeah, you 😉
It is one of the most popular inventions ever by man (sorry mobile phone), and it has changed the way people have spent their evenings. Ever since the first television system could transmit and receive signals, the television has gained appeal in ways even the Pope can’t replicate. Today, the number of channels available to watch is mind-boggling, and millions, if not billions, of people take time out of their lives to watch TV. So the question arises, is that time spent watching TV doing more harm than good?
Countless studies have said that TV is bad for you, but here are some effects of watching too much TV that I believe these studies don’t capture. For many, watching television is their safe escape, which is the biggest trap in getting people to spend time on the tube. It makes people want to watch the screen all day, and in effect avoid their lives and problems they face. If you find yourself sitting there for hours on end, you might want to think about your life, and whether watching TV is an indication that it is not what you want it to be. It might not be interesting enough, so that you feel the need to immerse yourself into the world of fiction.
I liken the TV problem to people who gossip. Their lives are crappy and uninteresting, so they feel the need to get into other’s business and spread lies to whoever will listen. TV addicts (so to speak) is very much the same. Only they don’t spread the word, they get entangled in the TV life so much it becomes their whole life.
- You don’t get to do the things that matter
This is an obvious result of watching television, you spend time that you would have to do other important things. According to a study by The Nielsen Company, many Americans spend more than 150 hours in front of the screen every month. This translates to about 5 hours a day. More if you count the adverts and news. Doing a little math, a 75 year old who started watching TV for 5 hours a day since age 10 will have spent more than 12 years of their lifetime in front of the tube. A decade people.
- It’s a gateway to addiction
The television is just as addictive as any other illegal drug in the market today. The fact that one can become addicted is the worst part. How does it do that? Well, the television is easily accessible (in most homes it is the focal point of the living room), it is enjoyable (have you seen some of the shows today?), and makes you forget any troubles that you might have had during the day.
One show ends and the TV goes ”Stay tuned for …”, so you sit there and wait for the next program. Before you know it, hours have gone by, and you are now hooked to another program that you’ll add to the watching schedule.
Watching the tube foe hours on end is the easy way out for many, because at that time you don’t think about your life or anything that matters. The television switches off our brains so we enjoy the too-good-to-be-true scenes in front of us. In time, the television becomes a time thief, taking away precious minutes and hours of our lives we will never get back. And people don’t realize this. We have to wake and realize that our lives can be much more meaningful if we just take the time and switch the TV off.
- It deteriorates the mind
The television does all the thinking for you when you watch it. Your mind doesn’t have to do anything other than just take in what it sees. Compare this to when you read an interesting novel, or book. The brain is forced to create the scenes, sounds, colors, tastes, and emotions as they are described in the book. The TV on the other hand; all this is done for you. If you have ever wondered why you get an empty feeling after watching, this is why. The brain relaxes because it has nothing much to do.
In the same line, have you ever tried to do something after watching the tube? Your mind feels numb, paralyzed even, and you have to give it some time before it gets back to working condition. Even after its back in gear, you can’t focus as much as you want, thus can’t get to the required level of efficiency.
- Its effect on the young kids
The scenes portrayed on TV are sometimes violent (murder, suicide, intentional acts), vulgar, sexually erotic, laced with profanity, and so one. Expose children to these and you are influencing them to accept violence as part of life. To some extent, it has made people much more violent in real life. Now, there may be no conclusive research to show this, but it is pretty obvious that some acts of violence are straight up borrowed from television screens.
Children who grow up watching violent content are much more likely to engage in such when they are older, and that is a fact.
With all that said, how can you cut back on the hours? Easy, just unplug the set and put it high up in your closet so that it takes a lot of effort to even locate it, let alone bring it down. The food will taste much better, the conversations will be much enjoyable, the book will be much more enthralling, and life will be much sweeter. Watching too much TV is bad for you, but you can take steps today to ensure it doesn’t harm you.