Our minds are rotting away and we might not know it. This is due to a destructive invention, a culprit known as television. Though television has kept families in their homes with countless hours of entertainment, it has also ended up destroying family ritual, affecting academic performance, and promoting sex and violence.
One effect of television in our current time is the destruction of family ritual. Once upon a time, so we have been told, families talked with each other. They actually gathered together and shared ideas, interests, and experiences. Since television, this apparently does not occur in most families. Family meals have taken a definite downward toll since the rise of television. At one time families would actually gather around the table for a meal and some family discussion. This was the place and time that families would work out a lot of problems related to school, sports, work, and relations with the opposite sex. Television has changed this, however, with the family members all staring at the tube rather than looking each other, and listening to television programs rather than talking. No longer is there the shared mealtime ritual of the family.
In addition or possibly as a result of the breakdown of the family ritual, television has also affected the schoolwork and performance of children and teenagers. Statistics released recently reveal that many more elementary, junior high, and high school students watch television than many twenty years ago, and that these children and teens are watching for more extended periods of time than ever before. The results are discouraging to teachers, parents, and school officials. Studies show that those students who watch ten or more than ten or more hours of television per week—an increasing number—receive lower grades than their counterparts who do not watch television.
Finally, television actually promotes sex and violence. Programs that contain sex and violence may impress upon a child the wrong messages, whereas an adult may know how to distinguish between what is proper and what is not. In a long term study on the effect of television on young viewers conducted by Stanford University, participants watched certain programs and were then themselves watched through one-way mirrors. The youngsters “acted out” more violently, hitting, throwing and abusing their toys more frequently after watching such programs. In addition, the carefree and casual use of sex on television has influenced many viewers to want to engage in sex, without aknowledging any of the dangers of unsafe sex. Young viewers in both instances “do as T.V. does”, and then they find that actions that work in the television world have different results in the real world.
At the risk of becoming social outcasts for criticizing this accepted American phenomenon, we must start to limit the use of television before this culprit brings about even more destruction to our families, our children, and our way of life.