One box to rule them all,
One box to find them,
One box to bring them all,
And on the sofas bind them.
There’s nothing wrong with a little TV right? It’s just a harmless way to unwind at the end of a day no? Well, not quite. If you're interested in finding out why, let’s take a look at the top six reasons to not watch TV.
1) It’s a huge time sink: In the U.S. people watch an average of 283 minutes of TV per day (Eurodata Worldwide, 2011). For the average working person, that equates to over 50% of your free time spent in front of the TV set. What else could you do with that time instead?
2) Watching TV shortens your life: TIME Magazine in August 2011 published Australian research which had collected data from over 11,000 participants aged over 25. It found that every hour of TV watched correlated with a 22 minute reduction in life expectancy.
3) TV negatively effects child development: TIME magazine (again), this time in April 2012 pointed to research that showed even background TV exposure is linked to poor performance in cognitive tasks in children, lower attention spans, and fewer and poorer child-parent interactions.
4) The hypnotic effect: How often have you channel surfed over and over? Or how often have you watched something you really weren’t interested in, just because there was nothing else on? TV induces hypnosis type states in the brain, which explains why we do these things, and why if there is a TV on in the room, we find it so hard not to look at it. Being in these states also makes us highly receptive to influence (advertising).
“Psychopathologist Thomas Mulholland found that after just 30 seconds of watching television the brain begins to produce alpha waves, which indicates torpid (almost comatose) rates of activity. Alpha waves are associated with unfocused, overly receptive states of consciousness.” (Moore, Wes. 2001)
5) It’s addictive: In 1969 a researcher named Herbert Krugman (Krugman, Herbert. E. 1971) conducted experiments that found that when a person is watching TV the right hemisphere of the brain is more than twice as active as the left. This produces a light hypnotic trance like effect (the result of the increased alpha wave frequency in the brain) and also releases a gush of the body’s feel good chemicals – endorphins. Endorphins act upon the brain very similarly to opiates such as heroine and codeine, which helps to explain the seemingly addictive nature of television as indicated by the hours we spend watching it every day
6) TV is bad for your mental health: TV viewing has been linked with numerous mental health concerns in both children and adults, for example depression, anxiety and disturbed sleep patterns. Even the content on TV is largely mood altering in a negative sense, with news being the biggest culprit. And remember that while you are watching your brain is in a very receptive state so what you see has a much bigger influence on you than you may think.
So there you have it. There are many more reasons to switch off your TV. These are just my top 6. If these have given you pause for thought, check out this powerful 2 min video by Beth Fulton.