Addiction to television is a problem worsening with time, probably exacerbated by pandemic isolation, as people have more time to watch TV and fewer chances to get out of the house.
By David Stone
Assorted Ideas, Large & Small
Addiction to Television and Its Hazards
Many dangers and risks are associated with addiction to television. For example, television addiction can lead to obesity because people idle and snack while watching, some for hours on end. It can also lead to sleep deprivation since watching often happens in the late evening, leaving exhausted people too nerve-jangled for sleep.
Making matters worse, mainstream media virtually promotes binge-watching as a way of passing hour after hour of streaming programs. But is that link-baiting healthy? Or does it promote bad habits yielding few real benefits? It’s unlikely that headline writers care as long as enough readers click to please advertisers.
Depression is another risk, as television watching often occurs at night, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation. It also leads to poor social skills, since television watching encourages anti-social behavior with minimal human contact.
Another less recognized danger of television addiction is television rage. When people have their television viewing habits interrupted by others, they become angry and take out this anger on those around them. This can lead to abuse or even violence towards family members or peers.
Television addiction also promotes anti-social behavior, because television encourages isolation rather than group interaction. Watching television can also result in lost productivity, as people spend more time in front of the television than working.
Identifying the Problem: How much television do people really watch?
The average American watches 5 hours of television a day, which is around 35 hours a week. This number is even higher for teenagers, who watch an average of 9 hours of television a day (or 63 hours a week).
Numbers vary among different resources, but A.C. Nielsen has long been recognized as the best reporter of all things TV in America. Here’s what they say: Television and Health
How Television Addiction Affects the Brain
When people are addicted to television, they are usually in a state of continuous partial attention. This means that they are not really paying attention to anything in particular, but their minds are just going from one thing to the next. This can be very dangerous because it leads to a lack of focus and can cause people to miss important information.
Television addiction also reduces brain activity, which can lead to problems with learning, memory, and creativity. And be especially wary with kids. TV violence can stimulate anger in children who watch excessively.
How Television Addiction Affects the Body
Television addiction can lead to several physical health problems, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. It can also lead to sleep deprivation, which can cause several other health problems.
It also affects social skills, because people who watch a lot of television tend to develop more antisocial or narcissistic personalities.
How to Stop Addiction to Television
Fortunately, television addiction is not a lifelong problem. There are ways to break the addiction and reclaim your life. The following are some tips:
- Set rules for television watching and enforce them. For example, setting a limit on the number of hours that can be watched in a day or week.
- Replace television watching with other activities, such as reading, going for walks, playing sports, or interacting with friends and family.
- Find out what is causing the addiction and try to address that issue. For example, if loneliness is the cause, find ways to connect with others.
- Seek professional help if necessary. Many therapists specialize in television addiction.
In conclusion, television addiction is a problem that is worsening with time. It can lead to obesity, depression, poor social skills, television rage, and lost productivity. Television should be used in moderation to avoid these dangers.
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