Thursday, July 10, 2008

Kill Your TV

Have you ever counted how many hours you spend watching TV? In a July, 1996 speech, President Bill Clinton noted that, "a typical child watches 25,000 hours of television before his or her 18th birthday.” Most American homes have a TV, people can become addicted to watching TV. There are three major drawbacks to watching TV, one a lack of education, two an increase in violence and three a decrease in health.


  • If children spend their time watching TV they are not spending a lot of time reading and writing.

  • Households that value literacy and push their children to read will have kids that excel in this area.

  • What is being watched is not nearly as important as the simple act of watching.

  • When a child learns to read and write, he must access the schema developed in his brain. As he reads, the child creates pictures in his mind and uses imagination and points of reference to put the story together.

  • It may be that television-bred children's reduced opportunities to indulge in this inner picture-making accounts for the inability of so many children today to adjust to non visual experiences.

  • Watching television does not develop a child's skills in word recognition, decoding, vocabulary, spelling or high-level thinking.

  • Watching television may entertain a child, but his passive participation leaves him unchanged, while reading supports growth.

  • Parents are the only answer to solving this problem.

  • American youth spend more time with media than with any single activity other than sleeping.

  • Parents must learn to establish controls in the house regarding media and support reading, drawing and quiet activities.

  • In order to change the trend of diminishing reading and writing skills, parents may have to do radical things such as turning off the TV.


  • Violence on television is not a new phenomena. In 1968, Action for Children's Television was formed to try and convince the FCC to limit violence and force the networks to show more educational programs for children. In 1983, the FCC ruled against providing any provision for children. One response to this ruling was CBS canceling Captain Kangaroo and replacing it with CBS Morning News.

  • Violent programs that probably have the most detrimental effects on a child's cognitive development are the ones where the here is justified in being violent. Researchers say, Violent scenes that children are most likely to model their behavior after are ones in which they identify with the perpetrator of the violence, the perpetrator is rewarded for the violence and in which children perceive the scene as telling about life like it really is.

    The national institute of mental health has identified 3 major effects of seeing violence on television:

  1. Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others.

  2. Children may be more fearful of the world around them.

  3. Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others.


  • Of all the possible activities in the world, sitting watching TV is probably the most unhealthy.

  • Television does not promote a healthy lifestyle.

  • Junk food advertising can be viewed with regularity on TV.

  • The whole process of watching TV is not an active one.

  • The diet accompanying TV-watching is high in sugar, fat and calories.
    The American Academy of Pediatrics presents some moderate guidelines recommended to parents:

  1. Limit Children's total entertainment media time to no more than 1 to 2 hours per day.

  2. Remove TV sets from children's bedrooms.

  3. Discourage television viewing for children younger than 2 years, and encourage more interactive activities that will promote proper brain development, such as talking, playing, singing, and reading together.

  4. Monitor the shows children and teenagers are viewing. Most programs should be informational, educational, and nonviolent.

  5. View television programs along with children and discuss the content.

In conclusion, watching TV interferes with children's reading and writing skills, causing them to be less educated. Additionally, it makes children become more violent and leads to an unhealthy lifestyle. So limit your children's TV use, and if at all possible get rid of the TV. Like any addiction watching too much TV is harmful and can interfere with daily activities that lead to a productive life. Now with the Internet having almost all the news hosted on their channel websites for free you don't even need a TV to watch the news. If you want to watch something, use DVD's instead so you can guard what your children are watching and limit the amount they watch.


  1. And these are all the problems before the Jewish perspective sets in ;) Seriously, even Disney kid shows like Hannah Montana are not perfectly agreeable anymore. What ever happened to Wishbone?

  2. yea, true point, this is without taking into account the Jewish perspective. I used this for my persuasive speech, got the same grade as my "spoiled children" speech, and my "toy recalls" speech.

    I actually came across Hannah Montana online recently and I loved it, thought it was cute. Now I decided I love Disney stuff, kid stuff are cute. But yea your right they all are Americanized.

    I never liked wishbone. A-because it involved a dog. B- I thought it was scary. But I was young back then, so I don't remember much from it. It just left me with a feeling that I didn't like it.

  3. Did you ever read To Kindle a Soul? This exact topic was discussed in that book, in further detail.

  4. Frummeyenta: I've never heard of that book. I just found it on amazon, checked the reviews and I see someone mentioned he speaks about TV, and looks like he did a good job at that too.

  5. My son mostly watches old Russian cartoons which are a lot more normal and musical than American TV. As for American cartoons, today's cartoons, just like today's movies can't compare to the 90's.

    Full House, Charles in Charge, Rescue Rangers, Duck Tales, etc.

  6. Moshe: I remember Full House, that was my favorite show as a kid!

  7. MOSHE:

    "today's cartoons, just like today's movies can't compare to the 90's."

    that's pretty funny. 90s cartoons are still garbage compared to the classics


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