Our passions, time, and even the our personal freedoms are sacrificed
to the glowing tube day after day without us being aware of it.
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
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.
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
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?
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
It's what we do every day that matters. Rare exceptions have limited
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