By DEREK CLONTZ
Hundreds of serious studies that you can access by clicking the hyperlinks on this page prove it beyond the shadow of any doubt – children who watch a lot of television:
1. Are fatter, less active and not as intellectually advanced as kids who limit their viewing.
2. Often think that the illicit and often risky sex they see depicted in everything from dramas and sitcoms to cartoons and commercials is perfectly normal for everyone – even young children.
3. Tend to take it for granted that violence – including torture, rape and murder – is an acceptable way to solve problems that are too difficult to handle with words or reason.
Those are just three of the hair-raising facts and figures I gleaned from the Parents Television Council, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, and through interviews and personal research in my reporter’s quest for the truth about television and its impact on human happiness.
Here are 17 additional trivia tidbits guaranteed to shock you:
4. Think you’ve got your child’s viewing under control? Consider this: Half of all kids report that they sneak to watch sexually explicit and super-violent television programs behind their parents’ backs, not just once in a while, but “at least three times a week.”
5. Kids who watch TV every day are more apt to make lousy grades and flunk out of school, be anxious and depressed and hate themselves than children who steer clear of TV.
6. Children watch an average 4.5 hours of TV per day – that’s 32 hours a week. By the time they graduate from high school, if they make it that far, they will have spent more time in front of “the idiot box” than they spent in classrooms and one-on-one with their parents … combined.
7. Stunning psychological studies confirm that young children and teenagers – not to mention poorly educated or immature adults – cannot tell the difference between the fantasies portrayed on television and the realities of their lives.
The result? Fed a steady diet of distorted and unrealistic situations and scenarios, they are at high risk of engaging in behaviors that will lead to failure in school, at work, and in their relationships.
The more TV a child watches, the more apt he or she is to become sexual active at an early age. The child also is more likely to turn to booze and drugs for “kicks” because the message that drugs and booze are “okay” is a common theme on television, analysis shows.
8. Children do, in fact, researchers have confirmed in hundreds of peer-reviewed studies, become immune to the horror of violence through over-exposure to violence on TV.
9. Children do, in fact, those same studies reveal, imitate the violent behaviors they see on TV. They also become more aggressive toward other people, family members, friends and strangers included.
10. Watching violence on TV might damage a child’s psyche in ways that aren’t evident until he has difficulty with relationships or, in a worst case, “goes postal” much later in life, either as a teen or adult.
Disturbing new studies suggest the damage from watching TV as a young child likely lasts a lifetime with negative consequences the norm. Parents should remember that the television they grew up watching is vastly different than what children see today.
Incidences of illicit sex are increasing, and by one account, have doubled in just the past 10 years.
11. TV relieves boredom in a temporary “fix” that fosters immaturity and passivity that can last from cradle to grave.
Instead of pursuing a hobby or his or her studies or spending quality time with friends and parents – all of which will accrue benefits for life – the child spends important formative years glued to “the boob tube” – important life skills he should be learning are neglected.
12. In a chilling double whammy, stressed children with emotional, behavioral, learning or impulse-control problems are more easily and profoundly influenced (damaged) by inappropriate and excessive sex and violence on TV.
13. A staggering 71 percent of children have a television in their bedroom despite the fact that 77% of parents say there is too much sex on television – and 65% are convinced that popular shows heavily watched by kids teach children to disrespect their parents.
After hearing arguments on both sides of the issue as part of a large study, nearly two-thirds of parents (73%) participating said they favor new regulations to limit the amount of sex and violence in TV shows.
This raises the question: Why do parents who claim to see clear dangers in TV viewing putting TVs in their children’s bedrooms? Do they hate their children? Are they crazy?
14. In addition to numbing children to violence and its consequences, TV, study after study confirms, leads to “desensitization” and an utter lack of “empathy for human suffering.”
15. The more TV children watch, they more likely they are to become sexually promiscuous at an early age – twice as likely, as a matter of fact.
Sadly, a whopping 46% of pre-teen children and teenagers who are sexually active say they wish they had remained virgins.
Another sobering fact: One in four sexually active children have at least one sexually transmitted disease. Equally disturbing is how television promotes stereotypes.
In a study of commericals, University of Michigan researchers found that white women were largely portrayed as sex objects, while black women were generally depicted as being ” inconsequential.”
16. By the age of 18, a child will have watched a mind-bogging 16,000 murders on television. You can add to that 200,000 non-lethal acts of violence – and 800,000 commericials.
By the time a child is 36, that figure jumps to 32,000 murders … it’s as if parents and the television industry are gathering up their kids sending them to a war zone.
17. Children tragically and increasingly report that the world is a “mean and dangerous place”, not because they’ve experienced it that way – but because that’s what they pick up from TV.
18. TV strips children of their humanity – and their morality. Fact: Research has proven that “mindless” television retards the development of the pre-frontal cortex.
That’s the portion of the brain that is responsible for planning and organization, self-control, moral judgment – and attention span.
19. A three -week study of cartoons mostly watched by kids 12 to 17 found:
- 208 references to illicit drugs including marijuana, cocaine, crystal methedrine and psychedelics like LSD, Ecstasy and mushrooms.
- 680 references to sexual behaviors, including but not limited to pornography, masturbation, pedophilia and prostitution.
- 565 instances of explicit language.
20. Alarms are sounding over the sexualization of teenage girls on TV, a trend that teaches young men to treat all women as “meat” and sex objects – and pressures young women to engage in sex long before they are ready.
A wildly disproportionate number of young women are stick thin. Women with normal bodies are laughed at and denigrated. Problems with body image are a major cause of teenage depression and suicide.
Parents with daughters – are you comfortable with this? If not, why are you allow this madness in your home?
According to a report in the trade journal “The Hollywood Reporter”, analysts looked at the Top 14 scripted shows that Nielsen (an audience rating agency) identified as being popular among children 12-17, including The Office, NCIS, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and The Vampire Diaries.
“Underage female characters are shown participating in a higher percentage of sexual depictions (than even) adults,” the study, called “Sexualized Teen Girls: Tinseltown’s New Target”, said.
I want to know what you think. Comment on this page and make your voice heard. Upset about TV? Get rid of your set. Join our Global Crusade at my Web site, Occupy Head Space.