The Invasion of the Idiot Box
Entertainment

The Invasion of the Idiot Box

It's time to unplug!

8
huffpost.com

One of the most important inventions of the twentieth century, the television, has grown to be one of the most influential forms of mass communication. What started off as a rare luxury enjoyed by a privileged few has now found its way into the living rooms of more than 95% of American households. This platform of entertainment, news and education has dramatically altered society. Information that could only be obtained through the written word or radio is now instantly accessible at the click of a button. Over time, this form of vicarious living has become so addictive that the average American household watches the television for about 6 hours and 47 minutes on a daily basis. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the television largely shapes an individual's attitude, behavior and knowledge. During its early years, the television was seen as an illuminating presence that sought to inform and educate. However, as the television transforms into a ubiquitous presence, it is increasingly perceived as a pervasive and invasive influence that is inhibitive and distractive.

Television viewing has often been associated with a negative effect on learning and academic achievement due to the interference and displacement of reading time. The act of reading, either leisurely or academically, has proven to be a cognitively stimulating act that is crucial for healthy cognitive development and overall academic achievement. Before the television and radio came along, reading was one of the largest and only sources of information and entertainment for society. However, the emergence of the ubiquitous television led to instant accessibility to the world from just the comfort of one’s couch resulting in less effort and time directed to other activities such as reading. Several reports indicated a decline in voluntary reading and quality of reading amongst American children and adults.

Moreover, the NCES (National Centre for Education Statistics) found that adults who reported reading any form of literature plummeted from 56% in 1982 to a 47% in 2002, implying that Americans today read far less than they did in the past. This interference of television viewing with other activities such as reading is commonly referred to as the ‘Displacement Hypothesis’. The ‘Displacement Hypothesis’ states that “television influences both learning and social behaviour by displacing such activities as reading, family interaction, socialising and exercise”. Therefore, the displacement of activities may negatively impact learning and achievement as cognitively stimulating and academically rewarding activities such as reading are neglected due to the time spent in television viewing. This form of neglect can lead to a negative impact on cultural, economic and political landscape of society.

The notion that television plays a large role in developing aggressive and violent behavior has also gained massive support. As the world further treads on the path of modernisation, television programs have started to display increasingly explicit, graphic and violent content. According to the social learning theory proposed by Bandura, it is possible to learn such violent and aggressive behaviors through mere observation. According to this theory, children can learn behavior by paying attention to the action, retaining the memory of the action, possessing the motor capabilities to reproduce the action and having the motivation to perform the action. Therefore, if children spend countless hours in front of a television screen, observing extremely violent and graphic content, researchers hypothesize that it can manifest into aggressive behavior in real life. This kind of learning is clearly demonstrated in Bandura’s classic Bobo Doll study where children ranging from ages 3 to 6 displayed aggression towards a toy simply because they observed a model for that kind of behavior. Yet another link between heavy television viewing and aggressive behavior is that individuals become desensitized to the large amounts of violence on-screen, taking violence less seriously as a result.

Television impacts the mental and emotional health of individuals and consequently society. Heavy television viewing leads to the displacement of cognitively enhancing activities such as reading and socializing. Thus, collectively, a decline in achievement can adversely impact the progress of society on numerous fronts. Moreover, the increasing feelings of desensitization towards violence as a result of heavy televised exposure can have real life implications rooted in increases in criminal activity which would be detrimental for the advancement of society.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

These Superfood Beauty Products Show Kale And Matcha Work For SO Much More Than We Thought

Just another summer's day with a cold glass of kombucha on my face.

I've been vegan for about six years now, so a love for fresh vegetables and superfoods has now become a core part of my being. Don't get me wrong. I love my indulgent, creamy pastas and truffle fries more than anyone. But I keep most of my focus on eating clean and healthy so I can indulge guilt-free.

But I'd say about a large part of my diet has always, unknowingly, included superfoods. Being Indian, lentils, beetroot, garlic, ginger, and whole grains have been core essentials on the family dinner table since I could digest solid foods.

Keep Reading... Show less

Now that college is around the corner for most if not all young adults, students once shook by a pandemic now have to shift their focus on achieving their career goals. As if we thought we had it together already! As an NYC girl, I have always seen myself as a hustler, hungry to advance my career in journalism by having one skill: working hard.

Keep Reading... Show less

Kourtney Kardashian has decided to leave "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" after nearly 14 years and although we saw this coming, it breaks our heart that she won't be there to make us laugh with her infamous attitude and hilarious one-liners.

Kourtney is leaving the show because it was taking up too much of her life and it was a "toxic environment" for her.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

We Asked You How You Felt About Resuming 'Normal' Activities, And Some Of Your Answers Shocked Us

The New York Times asked 511 epidemiologists when they'd feel comfortable doing "normal" activities again, considering COVID-19. We asked our peers the same thing, for science.

Last month, the New York Times surveyed about 500 epidemiologists asking about their comfort level with certain activities once deemed normal — socializing with friends, going to the doctor, bringing in the mail. That's all well and good for the experts, but they are a very niche group, not the majority of the population. What do "normal" people feel safe doing? In certain states, we've seen how comfortable everyone is with everything (looking at you, Florida), but we wanted to know where Odyssey's readers fell on the comfort scale. Are they sticking with the epidemiologists who won't be attending a wedding for another year, or are they storming the sunny beaches as soon as possible?

Keep Reading... Show less
Disney Plus

Millions of musical-lovers around the world rejoiced when "Hamilton," the hip-hop-mixtape-turned-musical harder to get in to than Studio 54, came to Disney Plus.

For those who had the luxury of being able to watch it in person and rewatch it with us mere mortals on our screens, the experience was almost as gripping as sitting feet from Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. From the stunning sets, graceful choreography, witty dialogue, and hauntingly beautiful singing, the experience was one even my musical-averse family felt moved by.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Keto Is All Fun And Games Until You're Undernourished And Almost Pass Out

Keto is just another extension of diet culture that boasts rapid weight loss, but at a steep price.

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

There has been a Keto diet craze going around in the past couple of years, with many of its followers claiming significant weight loss. With any new, trendy diet claiming miraculous weight-loss, one starts to wonder what exactly is happening behind the curtain. The keto, or ketogenic, diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that claims to help the body shift its fuel source from carbs to fat. In the medical community it has been prescribed to patients with uncontrolled epilepsy to reduce the frequency of seizures, but other than that there is little conclusive evidence to other potential benefits.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments