Our TV Future

January 17, 2013
By bluepandas BRONZE, Cambridge, Massachusetts
bluepandas BRONZE, Cambridge, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Vladimir Zworykin, the late inventor and creator of an electronic television system, stated that “the technique is wonderful. I didn’t even dream it would be so good. But I would never let my children come close to the thing [the TV].” Meaning that Zworykin thought that the producers on TV were very clever with their marketing, but it could be dangerous, so even the television technology pioneer didn’t want his kids anywhere near it. Smart guy.

My brother, who is eight years-old, watches cartoons every day. Sometimes you see the warning for “cartoon violence.” It may not seem like a big deal, but any program can sway children to act more violently or convince them that violence is “OK.” When my brother was two, we were watching a cartoon where some villains were attacking people. Everything was going fine until my brother decided to pounce on me. That may have been long ago, but I can still see the hold of movies and shows like Star Wars in him. This proves to me that it is truly inappropriate to show the level of violence that is shown on family and kids’ TV shows.

Whether we realize it or not, TV is a huge presence in our lives. In 71% of households, eight to eighteen year-olds have a TV in their bedroom. Watching TV as a child increases the chance of being overweight, having a high cholesterol, having lower grades, showing violent behaviors, and smoking. And with 41% of viewing online, there’s even more TV watching going on.
All films from 1937 to 1999, including G rated films, included some form of violence. And two-thirds of TV shows today contain violence. Studies have shown that children who watched more violent TV shows are more likely to show violent and aggressive behavior as adults and kids. Thousands of studies have been conducted over TV and violence, and only 18 have said that TV isn’t a problem. Several studies have suggested that babies spend less time playing with other children, which can be damaging towards their brain development. And obviously, when more time is spent on the couch and less participating in physical activities, obesity becomes a problem. Just sitting burns more calories than watching TV, which only burns a few more calories than sleeping.
However, there is always some doubt in this issue. There are many educational programs on TV, like Nova, Discovery, and PBS Kids that teach your children. But even if you’re learning by watching Nova, you’re still not interacting with others or being active. TV can inform you of things like the news, or let you watch the latest town hall meeting. And it’s perfectly fine to watch TV, the problem is just that a lot of American youth watch too much.
In addition, there are many solutions to the problem of too much TV. For example, keeping your TV in a public room instead of a child’s bedroom will discourage excessive watching. Parents should also set limits on TV watching time and let the kids know that TV time is a privilege, not a right. Buying a smaller TV takes away the luxury of the big screen, and parents should try to stick with one TV instead of having multiple televisions around the house. To block inappropriate shows or channels, you can look into parental locks on your TV. For a household with younger and older children, make sure the younger sibling isn’t around when the older child watches TV, in case the show is inappropriate.
Many movies about our future (such as Wally,) depict humans as fat, lazy beings who rely on technology and are never active. This, obviously, is a bit of an exaggeration, but we do not want our descendants to end up like this. Nor do we want them to be overly violent or lacking in grades. Too much TV watching can cause all three of these things. And although TV watching can be fine in moderation, us kids really need to kick the habit.

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