"As powerful as the TV media has become, they have, as yet been unable to force us to turn it on! If television is a problem, it's because we have not monitored its use. Television actually is different from programming. The former is the equipment, and the later is the content. A major problem is the content, and specifically, who is in control. The advancement of cable, video recorders, and those rare shows produced by people sensitive to developing positive images to Black children provide some possibilities. It would be erroneous for me to flatly condemn television and be a frequent guest on TV talk shows.
The four major problems are: TV dulls the senses, causes physical damages, promotes commercialism, and causes information loss. The first problem is the dulling, and often deadening, of the senses. Television viewing does not require require all of your intellect, it does not require all of your intellect, it does not encourage thinking skills, and many people use it to put themselves to sleep. Programmers discount intelligence so much, they even insert laughter to cue the viewer on when it's time to laugh! I often hear children say, 'I'm bored and there's nothing to do.' What they really mean is that there is nothing to watch, and they don't know how to do anything. Boredom results when there is nothing on the inside...
Television viewing makes our children passive spectators. If you're watching television you're not reading, swimming, playing an instrument, sewing, drawing, skating or participating in any meaningful activity. A bored person is created by being frequently entertained. They have not developed any other proficiencies except watching television- which requires none.
The second problem is physical damage to the brain and/or the eyes. Many opthalmologists believe television, which requires only straight-ahead staring, weakens the eye muscles that control the left-to-right or right-to-left motion required in reading. Jerry Mander in 'The Four Arguments For The Elimination' explains that:
'Television's light is projected into our eyes from behind the screen by cathoderay guns which are literally aimed at us. These guns are powered by 25,000 volts in color television, and about 15,000 volts in the black-and-white sets. Artificial light from any source, whether incandescent or fluorescent, leaves out many segments of the spectral range contained in natural light, and it delivers an entire different mix of spectral ingredients. The effect on the body, called malillumination, causes disorders ranging from lack of vitality to lowered resistance to disease and hyperactivity. The Emoy report shows brain waves slow down the longer television is viewed.'
The third problem is commercialism. Our children see 50,000 commercials a year. They see it, they want it; they want their world to look like the world on television. Television is the media that sells products not values. How do you advertise honesty, integrity, morality, and commitment? Television is a visual media that works best with visual images and products. It does a better job highlighting the features of a Datsun 280Z and designer jeans that the values of sacrifices, denials, and causes. The sponsor only provides the show as a lead into their product. Do you think GM, Ford, Chrysler, Sears, United and Budweiser would pay upwards of $300,000 for a thirty-second commercial in the hope that you will enjoy the superbowl game? The advent of mass production created mass media and mass consumption. What advertisements must do is give the illusion to the consumer that their product is a need. When women feel they need a pair of shoes, with ten pairs in the closet; and when men say they need a Cadillac instead of a less expensive car, it proves that sponsors have done their job quite well." -From, "Developing Positive Self-Images & Discipline In Black Children" By: Jawanza Kunjufu