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15 December 2008 @ 05:14 pm
Our Own Worst Enemies  
A few months ago we got rid of the television because the 42in screen I could comfortably see was too big to live with; that gave us time to read books again, including Remotely Controlled by Aric Sigman (2007) explaining just how much damage  time in front of the small screen can cause. It seems to harm the British more than the rest of Europe.

It makes us fat, not only because sitting on the sofa means not taking exercise - it slows metabolism while increasing appetite - either comfort eating during stressful episodes or imitative eating of (ultra thin) actresses enjoying chocolate. We are now Europe's fattest country.

It causes depression by making us feel inferior to stereotypes, making us feel helpless in the face of distressing news reports and by inactivity. Though it appears relaxing the effect stops when the programme ends so we watch more and eventually lose sleep - getting more obese in the process (due to interference with natural sleep hormones). A recent report in the British Journal of Psychiatry found we are the most depressed people in Europe.

Families watching television - often in separate rooms - are not interacting or  eating a  meal together. Young people take role models from dramas; British reticence is disappearing - the death of famous people gives rise to ‘recreational grief’. At the same time we don’t know our neighbours and can walk past those who need help on our streets.

The UK has the highest divorce rate in Europe On screen we see selfishness encouraged by parents asserting their 'right to a life of their own' even if it means the substitution of a step parent. The cost to children is played down.

The UK has the highest rate of underage pregnancy in Western Europe and a quarter of sexually active 13-year-olds have had four or more sexual partners.

These findings - and many other studies linking violence on TV with a rise in violent crime - are not promoted on TV or in newspapers often owned by TV companies.

Despite these many reasons for not particularly wanting a set the TV Licensing Board refuse to believe we can do without one. They've sent a stream of threatening letters and an investigator who banged on the door at dusk to 'prove we do not have one on the premises'. We sent him away but got another letter saying he'll be back. Now you know where the licence fee goes.

The real Joon: wtfinnerbrat on December 15th, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC)
And yet, the printed word does none of this!

- reading burns so much more calories than TV. It must be all that page turning.
- books, magazines and newspapers contain no sterotypes at all.
- books can only be read while in the same room as the rest of the family, and because everyone reads the same book at the same pace, families can share the experience!
- no one in the printed media ever gets divorced and acts selfishly.
- books are a 100% effective birth control method.

Of course, if we must watch TV, we should watch European TV, as studies have proved European TV prevents divorce and teen pregnancies.

...yeah, I got nothing.
High Priestess of Memarysiak on December 15th, 2008 07:09 pm (UTC)
In my experience (which is admitedly extremely sparse) European tv is even worse than ours for being a load of rubbish.
The real Joon: breaking the rulesinnerbrat on December 15th, 2008 09:00 pm (UTC)
This can't be true! How else do you explain Europe's much lower divorce and teen pregnancy rate?!?!?!

...I can't keep up sarcastic indignation this long.
ijournalerijournaler on December 16th, 2008 10:36 am (UTC)
Point taken about books but there is evidence that reading increases brain activity in the left hemisphere and builds the neural mechanisms for better reading. At least schools understand this and don't submit their pupils to several hours viewing a day (as far as I know!).
The real Joon: smartinnerbrat on December 16th, 2008 11:51 am (UTC)
You really should provide this evidence, not just trot out unsupported claims from one second hand source.

And as it happened, I watched TV at school. In the 80s, I learned to write and spell by copying the magic pencil. In the 90s, I supplemented my litarary education by watching Zeffrelli's Romeo and Juliet and Polanski's Macbeth. In this century, I've more than once been advised to watch a documentary or an episode of Panorama for the information.

You could find case studies to claim that several hours a day of any activity is harmful. Telling everyone to give up their TVs is not going to get anything accomplished.