Murder my TV?
The other day we finally cut the television for the kids. We took it down to one hour per day and we let them know that we may end up limiting it to a half an hour. I couldn’t handle them watching as much as they do anymore. I am getting very concerned about the television because I have been reading studies about how the act of watching the television makes the brain more malleable. It literally renders the watcher more willing to accept suggestion without question. Since that is the last thing in the world that I want for my children to be…we have got to limit the TV. I have high hopes that they will develop enough other interests that they will become bored with television altogether, like their father and I have. We still have a family movie night every now and then, and my husband and I will watch a show on the computer from time to time. But for or the most part, we just aren’t interested.
I was talking about this with my mother and remembering how much television I watched as a kid. I don’t think that it did any long lasting damage, not any that I have discovered so far. I am sure that I was much more open to suggestion when I was watching a lot of it. It was different when I was a kid though. For one, I didn’t have cable until I was around fifteen years old. Before that, there were gobs of time where I could not find anything that I wanted to watch on the five available channels. Now kids can find something to lull them into a daze twenty-four hours a day. In addition I liked to play outside all day. Now we must keep a closer eye on our kids because of all of the dangers outside. We have been forced to pull them indoors where the television is the most attractive distraction with all of its bright colors and loud noises.
I am a born cynic. It is such a strong quality in me that I am questioning everything constantly. I do not think that it is a learned trait; I swear I must have been born with it. Although I know that it is a characteristic that sometimes burdens me in certain areas of personal growth, it is still a quality that I respect about myself, and that I am very grateful for. So for me, the whole idea that I would place myself in a position that rendered my brain more easily influenced is somewhat horrifying now that I understand it…like, Clockwork Orange horrifying. That is why I want to limit my children’s exposure to it. I am also getting to the point where I am ready to start warning my friends about it as well. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who had been somewhat traumatized by a documentary that she watched that she swore was just too terribly real.
I sort of wonder if the guys who produce documentaries sit around and laugh their asses of about the things that they are able to get people to believe. Or if they are all in competition to see who can get the masses to believe the biggest lie. It is really terrible too, because the average American does not seek to watch documentaries, they watch reality shows and celebrity gossip. Intelligent people who want to be informed seek out documentaries. Maybe I am letting myself get too conspiracy theory about the whole thing. Then again, I will say that it would be a good idea to have a mandatory warning at the beginning of documentary films reminding the audience that during the film they are going to be more susceptible to whatever the filmmaker is suggesting. I vote we go back to radio. I love that there are all kinds of new podcasts popping up every day. I love Ted Talks. There is so much awesome information available out there. We need to develop a social understanding that we don’t need to go to the TV to get it anymore.