Impact of Television Essay Example

In the United States, of our 24 hours in the day, we allocate 8.8 hours to work and then 6.8 hours of sleep on average. That leaves us with a little over 8 hours to spend our day and would you believe that 5 and a half of those hours are spent sitting down in front of a television. What about exercise? Reading? Socializing? There is a lot that Americans are skimping on in favor of the television. With at least one TV in 95.9% of American households, it is by far the biggest monopolizer of our attention. The television is the most damaging form of media to the American public because it is addicting, negatively changes you, and deteriorates your health.

The Impact of Television

The television is enslaving the population of American citizens to their sofas and chairs. Here in America we have an obsession with our televisions. So much so, that we average over 5 hours a day watching it per person. That is an absurd amount of time is it not? Well it’s also a fact and proven so by a Nielson report. To think that this average is based on the entire US population is preposterous considering the amount of television we must watch to weigh out the millions without televisions. You would think that with the abundance of streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu that the amount of broadcasting would go down but actually the opposite.  Maybe five hours a day doesn’t sound bad to you, but what if I were to tell you that over the course of one year those five hours added up to 77 days.

Now you may start the see damage this is doing. Our televisions evidently are holding us back. With a population of over 300 million people, imagine what we can do with that time. Spending five hours a day watching live television to then switch to Netflix or browse YouTube videos is very common and only makes the issue worse. I, myself am a culprit. Spending hours watching tv with no direction or desire to stop gets repetitive and you can feel your addiction to it. It’s truly eye opening when you think about it in perspective. You may think that this is just a nationwide statistic and potentially irrelevant to you and your area but that’s rarely the case. For example, for my psychology class I asked 50 students between high school and college how much television they watched a day, per week and per the people that watched any hours, the average was four and a half.

Four and a half hours a day is 31 hours a week, nearly a full time job. The effects of the television are as captivating as an employer is demanding if it can control one for hours on end. It is more than a desire to watch. It has become a compulsion and a genuine addiction. Extensive studies have shown that people with more intense viewing habits of the television can hold similar effects and dependency similar to other addictions like drugs and alcohol. If we voluntarily allow our time to be peculated away, and held captive by our television screens, we are holding ourselves back as individuals and as a nation.

Mental Effects

With all the time you’re watching TV, the psychological and mentally damaging effects of television fly right over your head. If you’re watching TV for hours on end, you can be sure you’re not socializing, you’re not thinking and you’re not exercising. The result? Personality disorders. According to a study in New Zealand from 2013, the more television you watch, the more likely you are to have a personality disorder. Researchers followed a thousand children aged five to sixteen until they were twenty-six and found a strong correlation between television viewing and criminal record and antisocial disorders. An astonishing number, study co-author Bob Hancox, M.D., says he and his colleagues found that the risk of having a criminal conviction by early adulthood increased by about 30 percent with every hour that children spent watching TV on an average weeknight. There was a study about this but what exactly is the course of the personality disorder was it watching tv in general.

Think about one child or teen you know, anyone 5-16 and how much television they watch. With us taking no conscious effort to stop what we’re doing that child you thought of is another victim to the number in that statistic. Personality disorders are terrible on it’s own yes, however it doesn’t end there. With these television brought personality disorders, also comes violent behavior. According to the Journal Science, it has been noted that there is an association between television violence and real life aggression that has been well established over the course of four decades. For example, I will use a boy from my city. This guy, who from a young age has been exposed to violent TV shows with his parents as well as playing nothing but killing games now doesn’t know how to deal with things without violence. He hurts his little brother and threatens his friends but he has no idea what he’s doing is wrong because he was raised by television culture. Had he been raised on learning games and shows instead of Call of Duty and Sparticus he would cope in a different way like a normal person would. 

Physical Effects

Like most addictions, the physical effects of watching television can be dangerous. Think about someone you know who watches a lot of television and there is a good chance they are overweight or have a health issue. There is actually evidence to prove these two things are related. One study done at Harvard showed that watching too much TV increased the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart problems. There is a direct correlation found between the two because simply removing TV from your life was enough to reduce health complications. The study was strong enough to convince that 2 hours a day is enough to increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and that the chances increased around 20% each additional two hours.

Not only will watching too much deteriorate your body’s health, but can take away some of that life too. Studies have shown that people who hit close to that average 5-6 hours of television a day lose five years of their lifespan. A simpler way to explain it is that for every hour of TV you watch, you lose 22 minutes of your lifespan. The effects of binge watching are said to rival those of smoking in the way that smokers are expected to lose four years off their life expectancy. This is one you should think of long term for yourself and our country.

Once you think about 119 million homes in America averaging more than 5 hours of television a day with 2.8 persons per household, you’ll realize the large scale effect of this. Doing the math you’ll find as a nation we lose a combined 1,328,000,000 years if you were going off the current US census. You may even notice that the life expectancy is even shorter than if they were to be smoking, which really shows the effects of a TV addiction. Participants of a study by the Journal of the American Heart Association were twice as likely to die after their 8 year follow up compared to those who watch less TV. This meant after their studies were completed, if they had accumulated over a certain amount of streaming hours, over the course of the next 8 years after, they had double the chances of dying. We’re weakening ourselves with television but we seem to be completely fine with it.

Though watching television is a fun pastime or a way to end your night, it is grossly overused and depended upon by Americans. This addiction that brings health and social issues to young and old people alike is massively overlooked and not even seen as an issue or slightly controversial. We give away something we cannot get back, our most valuable resource, time, away like it doesn’t mean anything to anyone which at this point is hard to argue that it does anymore. Should something be said? Should something be done? Can something be done? Unless something is done, we are slaves to a rectangle and we couldn’t care less.



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