- Lately, my husband and I have been watching TV on the internet. We generally reserve our computer for other tasks and an occasional ” treat” of Gilligan’s Island for the kids. But as I like to put it, ‘sometimes I don’t want to think’. TV achieves this. We do not have the big black box in our home. Not two ,not one. I don’t miss TV and I hate ads. This has unfortunately become part of internet TV as well.
As part of the TV generation of the 70’s, I cringe when I see the current selection of “entertainment”. The vast array of nothingness is packaged so as to appear as something. I do remember my DAD saying something similar about the shows we watched. Maybe I am getting old….. or maybe he was right! It does seem though that the menu is filled with shows about violence in one form or another. Everybody is fighting . “Cupcake Wars” ,”Hell’s Kitchen”, “Big Brother’, “Bachelorette” whether you want to cook cupcakes, run the kitchen, or meet Mr. Right you need to fight for it. Is this who we are? Is competition so fierce in the cupcake industry? Or did some corporate shill know that if he put a pot of gold in front of us he could conjure up the most duplicitous and obnoxious behavior? Not only was this shill right but there are those of us ready to show this behavior to the world.To say nothing of all the shows about crime, CSI( 3 versions), Criminal Minds, 48 Hours Mystery and more. All find the criminal due to the wonderful police force. Not the same police that beat down protestors or racially profile or help convict the wrong person.
- This is not what I want my children, or myself, watching. We, like it or not, become calloused to such behavior when we see it repeatedly. In the programs this behavior is rewarded, so what’s the message to our brain? There are studies that the brain activity is different when watching a documentary. There are subliminal messages in the shows that can ‘help’ us become better consumers. And then of course, there are commercials that tell us who we SHOULD be and How to get there. If we buy enough we will be HAPPY!
- What really concerns me is the content of video “games”. They are nothing more than virtual murder/rapist training camps! This is not play and to even think that it is would be to convince yourself that the Earth is flat. Why would anyone put this virus in their home let alone the hands of their children?!?! I do not want my family to be numb to violence, oppression,or immorality.
After recent Pentagon research revealed that the desire and intention to enlist is highest among younger recruits (six in ten current US soldiers entered the military as teenagers),1, 2, 3 a level of subtlety, or rather subterfuge has been employed to guide teens toward recruiter offices. As one example of the many available: the US Army sponsors a website labeled “eCybermission.” It offers “web-based science, math, and technology competition” for 11, 12 , and 13 year olds, and the services of on-line uniformed Army personnel “CyberGuides.”4
Since 2002 the Pentagon has developed a massive teen data base gleaned from sources, including records obtained via the “No Child Left Behind Act.” That information is filed in JAMRS, the “Joint Advertising and Marketing Research & Studies” system – a giant Pentagon run, privately subcontracted (Equifax) database containing contact and identification data on over thirty million 16-25 year olds.5
- Personally, I don’t even watch the commercials. It is not something I want in my head. That said, I am one of the 1 in 10 that watched the Wiki-leaks Video of the killing of children in Iraq. This is real. It is reality that has REAL consequences. Why not set you and your family down and watch the real thing? Because we, as parents, shield our children from the hard facts of life until they can understand them better. So when I read of parents that allow unrestricted TV or video games, I cringe at the human they are producing. Even Disney does not produce a show without the ability to market all aspects of it to your child. They are in your house , they are part of your life.
- Approximate number of studies examining TV’s effects on children: 4,000
- Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful
- conversation with their children: 3.5
- Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680
- Percentage of day care centers that use TV during a typical day: 70
- Percentage of parents who would like to limit their children’s TV watching: 73
- Percentage of 4-6 year-olds who, when asked to choose between watching TV
- and spending time with their fathers, preferred television: 54
- Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours
- Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500
- Number of murders seen on TV by the time an average child finishes elementary school: 8,000
- Number of violent acts seen on TV by age 18: 200,000
- Percentage of Americans who believe TV violence helps precipitate real life mayhem: 79
- Millions of Americans are so hooked on television that they fit the criteria for substance abuse as defined in the official psychiatric manual, according to Rutgers University psychologist and TV-Free America board member Robert Kubey. Heavy TV viewers exhibit five dependency symptoms–two more than necessary to arrive at a clinical diagnosis of substance abuse. These include: 1) using TV as a sedative; 2) indiscriminate viewing; 3) feeling loss of control while viewing; 4) feeling angry with oneself for watching too much; 5) inability to stop watching; and 6) feeling miserable when kept from watching.
“We can now say with utmost confidence that regardless of research method — that is experimental, correlational, or longitudinal — and regardless of the cultures tested in this study [East and West], you get the same effects,” said Anderson, who is also director of Iowa State’s Center for the Study of Violence. “And the effects are that exposure to violent video games increases the likelihood of aggressive behavior in both short-term and long-term contexts. Such exposure also increases aggressive thinking and aggressive affect, and decreases prosocial behavior.”
I don’t think we decided to take our children out of the mainstream public education to hand them over to corporate strangers to educate and raise. But this is what unrestricted viewing is. So are you going to let a shadow raise your children? Plan what they see. Control your eyes, control your reality. To truly think outside the BOX turn the Box OFF! Better yet, throw it out.