A week or so ago I blogged regarding Susan Greenfield’s research on the effects of the internet on young children. Greenfield contends that excessive exposure to the internet is causing children to become more violent and impacting adversly on their capacity to feel empathy for others. My post caused a friend to send me a link to whitedot.org, a website which campaigns against television. In his email my friend said that while he agreed that the internet is having negative effects on young people that television is exerting a still greater harmful effect.
Whitedot not merely argues that we should limit our viewing of television, the organisation advocates that we (ideally) stop watching the box in the corner of our living room completely. They contend that television destroys sociability as people stay at home watching their TV set rather than going out (or staying in) and interacting with other people.
I, personally feel that Whitedot’s position is extreme. Television can be mind numbingly boring. I well recollect watching commedy show after commedy show on UK Gold. The first couple of shows made me laugh, however after a while I became restless and had to get up and take the dog for a walk. My head felt as though it had been turned into mush! Again I find it extremely dispiriting to sit in someone’s home only to be subjected to the sound of the television throughout the whole visit. Often people are only partially paying attention to the TV set so why on earth don’t they turn the thing off?! Again I hate feeling guilty for talking while someone else is watching television but shouldn’t those who invite us into their homes turn off their sets and interact with us (their guests)?
Having made the above points I do not advocate that we all smash up our TV sets. Television can be informative and there are (some) hight quality programmes. Again if adults choose to view what I (and perhaps you) regard as pap then, as adults it is their right so to do. However we do have a duty to our children to limit their viewing and to encourage them to do something other than watching TV, for example to read a book, play football or (heaven forbid) just play with a teddy bear.
My friend as a matter of record does not advocate that everyone throw away their TV set, however he is (as I am) concerned about the excessive watching of the box in the corner.
For whitedot’s site please visit http://www.whitedot.org/issue/fix_aboutus.asp