The Harmful Effects of Watching Television


In a culture where most people have at least two TV sets in their homes and are obsessed with watching television, it is almost impossible to neglect pointing out the possible harmful effects of watching too much television.

Television certainly has much to offer, and without a doubt is a great innovation. But when it comes to relying on it, whether to be informed or entertained, it can certainly affect people negatively.

Here are the main harmful effects of watching television that you should always keep in mind before tuning into your favorite TV show.

Television is bad for your health

Watching television means inactivity, and inactivity has been linked with obesity and heart disease. Do you think it is just a coincidence that in the West, where people are spending enormous amounts of time watching television, obesity and heart diseases in people of all ages are rapidly increasing?

More and more studies are being carried out on the harmful health effects of watching television. A recent research study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health indicates that watching too much television can significantly increase the risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes. Not surprisingly, another study carried out at the University of Rhode Island found that prolonged television watching decreases viewers’ sense of self-efficacy in maintaining personal health.

Television feeds you false information

One of the most harmful effects of watching television is that television appears to portray or report reality. In fact, it just allows us to get a small glimpse of what’s really going on. This particularly happens when watching TV newscasts. When we watch a 30 minutes newscast, we usually believe that what it is showing us is all that there is to see. After all, if there was more to see, wouldn’t television show us more? Unfortunately most people accept whatever television is feeding them, without ever casting a doubt on its truthfulness.

One of the main reasons why we so readily believe what television is showing us is the fact that we prefer ignorance over knowledge because, as the saying goes, “ignorance is bliss.” Searching to know the truth requires effort, and so we prefer to let the evening news do all the search for us. In this way, we don’t need to do anything: no effort, nothing to worry about. We choose the easy way, but by doing so, we also choose to accept a distorted view of reality.

Television makes you dumb

Another amazingly harmful effect of watching television is the fact it can hinder our ability to think. Having talking heads continuously giving us quick information, opinion, analysis and criticism for just about everything, allows us to stop using our critical thinking. In this way, we can be easily misinformed and manipulated.

Certainly there are a few programs on TV that are educational and interesting, but the majority of  television programs are simply trash. And so we rarely find a program on TV that requires us to think. Television programming is designed in such a way so as to match our attention spam, and that is why almost all programs are 30 to 60 minutes long. In addition, television programs rarely dedicate the entire program to a single topic. Hence, not only cannot television programs provide any decent thought to stimulate discussion, but they present information in such a way that we cannot digest it properly. And so we can easily form opinions without allowing the information to be first filtered through our mind, and while we might think that we become more knowledgeable, in reality we become dumb.

Television wastes your time

Life is short, but we choose to spend it watching television. Just think of how many hours of our day we waste watching television. Surveys reveal that people in the Western world spend 5-10 hours a day watching television.

Instead of living our life to the fullest, we sit in front of a dead, though “entertaining” device, which we have chosen as a substitute for true living. Instead of going out to play football, we are so obsessed with watching football games and admiring our favorite sport players, as if they are some kind of heroes. Instead of going to our kitchen and cook a healthy meal, we prefer to sit in the sofa, watching special cooking shows where people are savoring all kinds of delicious food, while we fill our bodies with junk. Instead of going out to meet people, converse and have fun, we choose to confine ourselves within four walls and be all alone, so as to watch with full attention adventure movies, reality shows, and soap operas.

But I am asking you, is this living? A time will come when your physical and mental energy will be dissipated, and you will come to realize that you have not yet actually lived. But then it will be too late, and you will be filled with resentment.

Now is your chance to live passionately, not passively.

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