Some shocking statistics on television, children and increasingly irrelevant parents.
By the time you are 65 years old you’ll likely have watched 9 years of television. Note, that is before retirement when you have plenty more time lounge about, drooling at the foot of our telemaster. Today’s thirty-somethings will have been nurtured from cradle to grave by the omnipresent telemother. In most households the rectangular portal provides the most influential view upon our world. The teleparent becomes teleteacher. It is a fine tool for disseminating information, but this teleteacher is not qualified, certified or in any way edified. The teleteacher is more like a telepreacher or better still a telepusher.
We used to call television the boob tube because of what it turned viewers into – brainless boobs. Now the term might better reflect what now dominates its subject matter.
Monetarily, the value of hours spent slack-jawed before the telesoother is $1.25 trillion buckeroos each year. That means if we all gave up T.V. and did something productive, if not profitable, we’d be able to balance the federal deficit in a couple years. And that doesn’t include making the little kiddos get a job. However, it sure would help as they spend an astounding 1600 minutes of telebuddy per week! That is more than an entire day each week. That is 228 minutes per day or about 4 hours. Conversely we spend 3.5 minutes per day engaged in meaningful conversation with our children.
Children spend more time watching television than in any other activity except sleep. And I’d be willing to bed sleep is going beddy bye. Soon there will be no sleep, only 24 hour reality shows about sleep.
It is not easy being a parent – especially if they’ve lost the ability to make critical decisions. Polls indicate that 73% of parents would like to limit the amount of telepacifier their children watch. Of those 60% want “indecency standards” mandated for Cable TV; and 69% of those parents want higher fines for the media corporations who broadcast such material into their homes. Furthermore, of those parents, apparently 100% have lost total control of the decision making process within their homes. They dutifully hand over the remote when their child (and best friend) demands it of them. They wouldn’t want to lose their best friend over such a trifling matter. After all, we really shouldn’t push the issue for fear of alienating our children. Alienating them further, I should say. Over half of 4-5 year olds prefer telefamily to their actual parents.
However, there are many quality programs to choose from. Perhaps our children are watching educational shows. Not according to Mr. Neilsen, back in ’05 kids ages 9-12 vociferously chose ABC’s Desperate Housewives. Hello? So what? Relevance? That poll was taken back in early 2005, televiolence and telesex has only gotten better over the last four years.
It is not just the children. We all worship at the feet of teleGOD. It is the teacher and counselor to all of us. Besides it is much easer than reading. Who needs reading anymore anyway? In 2006 80% of American families did not buy or read even one book, magazine or newspaper. And what do we have to show for all of that? Well, according to the results of a general intelligence survey as posted in the NY Times, “American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small). Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity. Only about 10 percent know what radiation is. One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth, an idea science had abandoned by the 17th century.” ONE IN FIVE?!? Come on! We should be able to get that up to two in ten!
It seems Mr. T would certainly pity us fools.