The average American can easily watch about 5 hours of TV a day (Neilsen report).
5 hours of TV a day.
When we were in school we spent hours in front of a teacher and after 8 years we became educated. What do we become when we exchange the teacher for a TV for the greater part of our lives? TV Critics? Series Writers? Not all of us, no. We become numb, we become dumb and we become slaves to advertising.
I understand the attractiveness of sitting down on a large comfy sofa for 5 hours zoned out after working hard all day. It’s a form of relaxation and entertainment. But what is escaping us in this argument is that it is the flashing of the screen which is more detrimental to us rather than the content. Add that on top of the hours we spend scrolling through our phone or video watching at work breaks.
It is commonly known now that screens and TV for children are not healthy. It affects their attention and social behavior. My sister has related to me how it is scary when her teenage son comes off the console after even two hours of gaming. “He is like a zombie”, she states. He has no patience, he does not want to rejoin real-life therefore not accept the responsibilities that life brings on a daily basis. There are those very sad stories of neglected children because the parent was too addictive to a silly telephone game.
What did people do before? They listened to the radio together (although there would probably be an issue at some point with the radio waves emitted), they read books, they played card games, they took walks, embroidered, read the newspaper. Countless activities that were beneficial for the brain, rather than the opposite. Also, families spent time together. They ate around the same table, all eating the same dish, and they conversed. What they did for their day, what they plan to do for the week, what is happening in local and national news.
There is a surge of new parents now who forbid screens for their children. Maybe at 4 years of age, they can watch one episode of Dora the Explorer, but that it is. Other parents are then marveled, questioning how do you manage those children all day! These same parents who put their 3-month-old in front of Baby-TV. These children without screens are so imaginative, creative, fun! They discover books, blocks, dolls, cars, you name it. They invent games and they are happy! Sure they might annoy you with your constant questioning and request to partake but you are the parent. This child is your responsibility so you should take the actions to ensure their better health and happiness. Going for a meal in the restaurant? Teach the child good behavior rather than give them the phone. It is a vicious circle though and difficult to come off it, but if you pay more attention to the amount of time you are on your phone, laptop, TV, then the younger generation will follow.
Train your brain! Like everything, habit takes time. Form a new habit and enjoy it, and share it with the younger generation to enjoy too.