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The Negative Effects Of Television

The negative effects of television are huge.

Our passions, time, and even the our personal freedoms are sacrificed to the glowing tube day after day without us being aware of it.

Since its mass spread in the 1950s, TV has become so ubiquitous so fast most don't realize the changes it's wrought in our culture, or that the average American now loses 9 years of their life to the glowing box.

Social clubs are falling apart, municipalities cannot find enough residents to man their boards and commissions, and who has time to read books these days?

The negative effects of television certainly play a role in this.

If nothing else, you have to admit that if you choose to devote three hours of your day to watching TV, then that's three hours less that you have to spend doing something else, even if that something else is merely taking a nap in your hammock.

I find television to be very educating.  Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.  - Groucho Marx

The Negative Effects Of Television: What Else Is There?

I stopped watching TV with any regularity about 6 years ago, and it's made a huge difference in my life. I still can't believe how many negative effects of television I freed myself from.

Negative Effects Of Television Throw
At the time I actually gave it up more for temperament than any belief in the negative effects of television - one day I just got sick of all the commercials interrupting my shows so I canceled my cable and decided to wait and rent the DVDs from the library.

After a brief period of restlessness, I plugged the gap with new activities - exercise, learning, socializing with friends. My life has been richer for it.

What have I accomplished with those hours?

Running a marathon,  reading two books a week, creating this website, writing for pleasure, spending more time with friends, and going on a vegan and then raw food diet are some of the things I've found time for with no television in my life.

The Reasons For Escaping The Negative Effects of Television

Stop Your Life From Slipping Away

The average American spends 4 1/2 hours a day watching TV (1). That's 1642 hours a year, or over two months. TWO MONTHS! The average 65 year old has wasted nine years of their life glued to a television.

Think of what you could do with an extra two months this year without the negative effects of television to hold you back. You could easily write a short novel, paint a few pictures, start an environmental clean up group, or teach yourself to play an instrument. What can't you do with two extra months?

Think of yourself on your deathbed. Will you want to trade back all those hours of Judge Judy for more time with your family and friends?

Television Causes Violence

Negative Effects Of Television Grab
We know that the more television you watch the more violent you're likely to be (2).

Think of yourself slack-jawed in front of the blinking lights. What are you absorbing subconsciously that you're not even aware of? Violence is just the beginning.

Television Teaches Us To Be Passive Lemmings

One of the most insidious negative effects of television is that it teaches us to sit back and accept instead of acting and thinking.

I've noticed a huge increase in my ability to think outside the box since I unplugged my cable. I've pushed the boundaries of my life in all directions -dietarily, physically, and socially, and I honestly believe that the lack of television in my life is a huge contributor.

The voices coming over the box will tell you that beef is what's for dinner, that you need that sports car, and that the world is dangerous and beyond our ability to fix. All lies.

Television Is Making Us Stupid

A poll performed by the Associated Press in August 2007 reported one-quarter of all Americans did not read a book that year.

In the book "Technopoly," Neil Postman says television is slowing winning its struggle against the book.

"When media make war against each other, it is a case of world-views in collision," explains Postman. "On the one hand, there is the world of the printed word with its emphasis on logic, sequence, history, exposition, objectivity, detachment and discipline. On the other, there is the world of television with its emphasis on imagery, narrative, presentness, simultaneity, intimacy, immediate gratification, and quick emotional response."

All television is educational television.  The question is:  what is it teaching?  -Nicholas Johnson

Television reduces the world to its simplest common denominators. It continuously pushes the boundaries of ignorance and idiocy. We are taught to worship Paris Hilton, but not Einstein.

Television Is Making Us Fat

While horrible diets certainly contribute, another of the negative effects of television is the endless hours spent sitting motionless in front of television, which is a major cause of the obesity epidemic gripping the country. 26.6% of the population of the United States were obese in 2007 (3).

If people were moving for those four and a half hours every day, chances are they'd be a lot thinner.

Television Makes Us Materialistic

Cut out the ads and you'll notice a huge difference. Though I have no hard statistics to back it up, I'd estimate that I've reduced my non-necessity purchases by at least half over the last 6 years.

I realize that I just don't need most of the crap that I used to buy. I can borrow most of the worthwhile stuff from the library or friends and produce less waste in the world. Spending that money on more important things is also nice. 

How to Escape The Negative Effects of Television

Negative Effects Of Television Rules You Live By

My suggested route of cutting out the TV is to go cold turkey for at least a month. Consider unplugging the whole thing and throwing it in the basement or closet until your experiment is complete.

Don't slowly wean yourself off television's influence, but rather pull the bandaid all at once so the shock of the loss gives you a very clear view of what has changed. It's unsettling at first, but you'll grow to love it.

One thing that you should guard yourself against is replacing one addiction with another. If you usually spend a half hour checking you email on the computer every night and you suddenly find yourself spending 3 hours aimlessly surfing web pages, you'll know what you're doing.

What To Expect

Most likely, a person that spends four and a half hours a day watching TV is going to be pretty lost without their fix. The first day or so is going to be full of a lot of head scratching. What should you do with yourself?

Negative Effects Of Television Turn Off
Go to the library and pick up a book, and then, gasp, finish it in a few days. Go out for a walk with your wife (I've found that an after-dinner meander with a friend or loved one is one of the most pleasant parts of my day.)

Play some tennis, start teaching yourself to play the guitar, talk to your neighbor, join a book club,  or get out and experience something new you've always wanted to try. You'll probably be amazed at how accomplished you feel by actually getting things done or shaking things up.

The Aftermath

When your trial is up, you'll still be in a world where most people think their screen is the height of entertainment. You may find yourself telling your girlfriend in vain about your new found chess skills and exercise habits.

Most people will probably not be interested in joining you. My advice is to not go crazy and rule out all Television. Every few months I'll end up watching a few minutes of TV at someone else's house, and I still use my TV to watch DVDs I rent from the library a few times a month.

It's what we do every day that matters. Rare exceptions have limited impact.

If you hear about some promising TV series which you just can't pass up, just wait for it to appear on DVD. In most cases, though, you'll probably find your old favorites rather stale. So cut the cable or satellite bill and save a lot of money, as well as a lot of time, over the course of your life.

I think you'll find, as I have, that your life is dramatically different without TV. Give it a shot. You'll probably be pleased, but even if you’re not, you've only lost 135 hours of sitcoms.

Following Up

Find greater detail about the problems television brings to our life and how we can get on a better track in "The Raw Food Lifestyle Ebook."

Consider how avoiding the negative effects of television fits into a healthy life.

Read about a healthy raw food diet here

Negative Effects Of Television Sources

(1) Nielson Research Study
(2) "Television Viewing and Aggressive Behavior During Adolescence and Adulthood," Johnson et al. Science 29 March 2002
(3) U.S. Obesity Trends.

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