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Why We Should Not Watch Too Much Television

 

Television has long been one of the most popular devices used for entertainment all over the world. It is cheap, appealing, and within the reach as almost every household has one television set in their place. To a certain extent, watching television provides some benefits. It provides news, various information, and entertainment.  It also has the potential to reduce women's stress. Nabi, Prestin and So (2016) found that watching TV lower women’s cortisol levels—designating that they had lower stress levels. What is more, watching television can promote creativity. The research of Anderson et al (2001) revealed that educational children's programs can stimulate imaginative play and creativity. However, watching too much television is disadvantageous many TV programs include non-educational content, which can cause negative mental development, and it tends to be a wasting time activity.

The first reason why watching too much television is disadvantageous is because the content of many TV programs is not educational. A lot of current TV shows, and series. And movies expose scenes of violence, sex, and drugs, and this establishes incorrect concepts among the audience that prompt them into having a negative behavior. This tendency can have a worse impact on children as they grow up with the idea of the importance of getting revenge, that to be popular a girl must be slender and has white skin, or money, violence, or war are the solutions to problems.

The next reason that makes watching too much television disadvantageous is that it negatively affects people’s mental development. According to several scientific studies, watching TV for prolonged periods leads to deterioration of the mental capacity in adults by causing both attention and memory problems in the long term and harms the intellectual development of children. The study of Hoang et al (2016) showed that people who watch a lot of TV have lower processing speeds (it takes longer to understand things) and worse executive function (it’s harder to focus and get things done) by the time they hit middle age. The odds of poor performance on the cognitive tests were twice as high for adults who watch a lot of TV and don’t exercise much compared to adults who do the opposite.

Last but not least, people shouldn’t watch a lot of TV because it makes people waste time that could be used for more beneficial activities. According to ZenithOptimedia in Statista (2019), TV viewers worldwide watched 2 hours and 48 minutes of TV daily in 2018. In the same year, Indonesians spent an average of 4 hours and 20 minutes watching TV each day. Such much time we spent watching TV could be used to do valuable activities like reading, interacting with friends and family, exercising, and other activities that are crucial for a healthy lifestyle. It is easy to observe how people who watch TV excessively tend to lack study time or miss out on social interaction.

To conclude, people shouldn’t watch too much TV because many TV programs include non-educational content, it can cause negative mental development, and it tends to be a wasting time activity. However, it doesn’t mean that TV should be banned. Watching TV can be beneficial if we do it in moderation, i.e. by selecting the good programs and taking an active and critical attitude towards them.

References

Anderson, D,R., Huston, A.C., Schmitt, K. L.; Linebarger, D. L., & Wright, J.C. (2001). Early Childhood Television Viewing and Adolescent Behavior: The Recontact Study." Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 66(1), 1-134.

Hoang, T.D., Ress, J. & Zhu, N. (2016). Effect of Early Adult Patterns of Physical Activity and Television Viewing on Midlife Cognitive Function. JAMA Psychiatry, 73(1):73-79.

Nabi, R.L., Prestin, A. & So, J. (2016) Could Watching TV Be Good for You? Examining How Media Consumption Patterns Relate to Salivary Cortisol, Health Communication, 31(11), 1345-1355

Statista (2022). Average time watching TV in Indonesia 2014-2018.  https://www.statista.com/statistics/1051382/indonesia-average-time-watching-tv/ 

Statista (2019). Daily time spent watching TV worldwide from 2011 to 2018. https://www.statista.com/statistics/730428/tv-time-spent-worldwide/

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