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A NEW LEASE—on Life!
By Judit Rajhathy, B.A., RNCP, D.Ac.
Get that Tube Out of Here!
So I find myself in a relatively new relationship. The first few months were magical - lots of intimate moments, deep conversations, eye contact galore, and tons of together activities. Then, enter one of the most invasive, mindless inventions ever created - the television. All of a sudden there was less quality time and I quickly became resentful and expressed my disdain.
My guy right away realized that what I was bitterly complaining about was true. Back to the drawing board - more intimacy, more interaction, more time together and hence, a deepening of love and affection. I had never really experienced the alienation that television can create. And simply sitting there or laying together watching the tube just doesn’t cut it. No matter how many studies try to prove that TV is a beneficial tool I just won’t buy it. The tube is filled with sex, horror, violence and negative news programs - why would I subject myself to all this mindless noise?
We always had a television when my kids were little but it was put out of obvious site and we rarely watched it. We spent time playing interactive games like backgammon, scrabble, Monopoly and engaged in outdoor activities. We never had that droning sound lurking in the background. Music, dance and conversation were a larger part of our lives as a family. Television time was limited to a few choice programs and definitely no cable. As deprived as my kids felt at times, they learned to read, have intelligent discussions, and developed their language and communication skills. Today both kids are skilled writers.
98% of US homes have at least one TV which is turned on for an average of seven hours a day (Wilson 2004). Many homes have televisions in every room, creating further family isolation as each person watches different programs at different times and often without supervision. Even meals are eaten in front of the tube, further limiting family interaction. North American life consists primarily of sleeping, working and watching television. For children TV has become their babysitter, substitute friend and parent.
Even worse is that by the time an American child is twelve, they will have seen 8000 television murders. The average American child witnesses around 200,000 acts of TV violence by the time they are 18, making them less sensitive and increasing their aggressiveness since this type of violence is often portrayed as acceptable. Dr. Ellen Abell, a family and child development specialist, sees a direct relationship between many of the growing problems in children today and excessive television viewing - attention deficit disorder, faltering academic abilities, language difficulties and other behavior issues. And how do violence, greed and raw sex promote family values?
Another huge issue about being glued to the television is that it contributes greatly to the rise in obesity by promoting inactivity and the consumption of large quantities of unhealthy foods such as chips and soft drinks. As well, commercials tend to promote fast foods, prescription drugs, and material goods brainwashing children and adults alike.
I am so grateful to my daughter and son-in-law that my little grandson is rarely allowed to watch TV. He plays, engages in group music and outdoor activities, is read to, constantly being stimulated through human interaction. Having experience first-hand how that darned tube interfered with my own relationships, I am more convinced than ever that it creates more harm than good. No thanks!