Television has become a major part of our lives in the 21st century. Technology is constantly improving and everyday newer televisions with bigger screens, clearer service, and nonstop programs are intensified. With these continuous upgrades, more and more people are relying on television to entertain and spend their time on. They don’t realize that this reliance on television is forming an addiction that brings forth negative effects, which includes health risks as well as an increase in violence. It is a serious problem that is starting to show effects on our nation’s viewers. These viewers know that there are aftereffects to television viewing, but simply brush off the problem as if it won’t have any impact on them at all. They need to address this problem and figure out how to resolve it, or our nation’s youth will be greatly affected by this affliction.
Television viewing has many important repercussions, the first being that it creates an addiction. Many viewers excessively view television, spending hours on end sitting and staring mindlessly at the television. “Among life’s more embarrassing moments have been countless occasions when I am engaged in conversation in a room while a TV set is on, and I cannot for the life of me stop from periodically glancing over to the screen.” (Television Addiction) These viewers cannot help but stop and stare at the television screen as if they are uncontrollably drawn toward it. Television is meant as an escape and distraction from the troubles of daily life. People can’t help sitting down and relaxing to the TV and diverting their attention away from the struggles and hardships of their day-to-day issues. Some viewers admit that they walk into a room and unconsciously turn on the TV without a second thought. This uncontrollable addiction becomes a second nature to many viewers.
Another negative effect, which plagues many television viewers, is that excessive viewing leads to health risks. Not only does staring at a screen put strain on your eyes, but also behaviors associated with the excessive viewing can be detrimental to the viewer’s health, “We also would expect that, to some extent specifically, TV viewing harms through increased caloric intake of unhealthy foods.” (You Can’t Exercise) When watching TV many people tend to sit down on a couch for hours, eating only junk food full of sugar, calories, and saturated fats. Associated behaviors can indirectly pose problems to many viewers. Young impressionable viewers are also susceptible to many of the threats that excessive television viewing poses. “Two studies found that children and young people with behavioral and emotional difficulties viewed more hours of aggressive television programs than controls.” (Is aggression in children) Many young children spend hours of constant television viewing and through research it has shown that it may cause attention problems.
As a result of unrestrained television viewing, these children are unable to sit still and are forming many disorders. The last problem associated with television viewing is that it creates more violence and increases aggression in younger viewers. As a result of the technology improvement, many more channels are being created and there is a new wave of violent programs on the air. Young children have the capability to flip through channels to watch whatever interests them. They may come across some programs, which display senseless violence and killing. By viewing these programs regularly, they may think that this aggressive behavior is normal and commonplace. Not only are these violent programs to blame, but also programs such as the news, which display war and fighting all around the world. It may not seem dangerous, but constant exposure to suffering and dying may have a huge impact on young children’s developing minds. “For children, the extensive offerings have led to them spending an average of 3-6 hours a day watching screens, more time than in any singular activity except sleeping (3-5).” (The effects of infant) Not only are they spending most of the day staring at the screen, but also many parents have admitted that they keep televisions in their children’s rooms. Young children like to imitate and do what they see. They may be influenced to act as violently and unpredictably as the people they see on TV.
Although there is no way to completely avoid television, there are some preventative steps that can help to decrease the risk of these adverse side effects. In order to prevent an addiction to television, parents can control and limit the amount that their children view. By taking the television out of their children’s rooms they can regulate and get rid of temptations. When viewing television you are spending time you can replace with hours of exercise or physical activity. In order to combat this, you can limit yourself to a certain amount of time of television viewing and replace the rest of the time with exercise. Be sure not to consume junk foods high in saturated fats, calories and sugars to avoid detrimental health effects. Lastly violence as a result of television tends to be more prevalent in younger children. So parents can take precautionary measures to regulate the programs that their children watch, being careful not to expose their children to too much senseless violence. The majority of these problems can be solved in regulating the amount being watched. Everything should be done in moderation and making sure not to spend too much doing one single activity.