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Does watching too much TV dumb us down?

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posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 11:48 AM
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It's more of an issue for our children. The spend too much time in front of the TV and it is dumbing them down. TV make a lot of their education nowadays, kids would rather believe the TV set than their parents!
And the rare educational programs are often at times/channels unreachable for them.




posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 12:02 PM
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The Awful Truth

No, watching TV does not dumb people down. Dumb people watch TV.

That's what it's there for, to entertain and pacify dumb people who have nothing better to do with their lives and with their time, and to separate them from their money.

Let the flame wars begin!



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 12:10 PM
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Yes, it's happening to you what has been happening here (Brazil) for a long time. Government propaganda, establishment of behavior patterns and in long terms, decrease of people's critical thinking, conditioning the masses to be unable to see behind the obvious.

Internet is changing things a little bit, but unfortunately not everyone uses to web to seek for information.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 01:10 PM
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Originally posted by Tenebrous
Just watch an episode of "Don't Forget the Lyrics". Your answer should lie somewhere between the first and second commercial breaks
.


Having worked in television for a quarter-century, I can safely say that television is an escape by and large. If you want to be enjoyably challenged, read a book by Michael Ondaatje.


Originally posted by Tenebrous
Ok so that was a joke, but it wouldn't be so funny it wasn't true. Modern tv more or less proves this. They have numbed us to the point that they don't even come up with orignal content anymore


People are looking to television to reassure them and not challenge the conventional wisdom. You work a long hard day. You come home. You don't want to have the television show prove to you that you know less than an 11-year-old do you? I defy a 5th-grader to balance the challenges of family and professional life without crying.



Originally posted by Tenebrous
Sitcoms ceased to be anything even close to original long ago, and reality tv has gotten to the point when we are on the 157th survivor, and that we have Osborne rip-offs coming out of the ***, and they aren't even interesting.


Reality programming gets done because it's cheap. End of message. Modern North American society is fetishising getting something for nothing and "Survivor" is the natural outcome of that demand. You want quality? You're going to have to pay in one currency or another. And all reality does not not equal cheap and stupid. I just finished a series for Discovery called "Invention Nation" which is basically a green invention roadtrip series and it was interesting and informative.


Originally posted by Tenebrous
Even "good" channels like history, which I enjoy, are not exactly perfect. Take the show "Dogfights". I watched a few and enjoyed them. I got incredibly turned off after that but (correct me if I'm wrong I've stopped watching) according to that show, the only dogfights in history involved Americans.


IIRC, WWII didn't start until Pearl Harbor.
Seriously though, they know the limitations of their audience's interest and play thereon. To paraphrase one of Mike Myers' SNL characters, 'if it isn't American, it's crap!' Not that that's truth but it's certainly accepted wisdom. That said, there's a ton you Yanks could do to balance your worldview that you'd probably find quite interesting. Personally, I think Americans in general would do themselves a world of good to take an honest look at the War of 1812. I've heard about History's "Second War of Independence" abomination from a couple of years ago. But truthfully, 1812 had much to do with the current American military mindset. However, I digress.


Originally posted by Tenebrous
CNN has ceased to report the news, and simply loops the election coverage babble, and there isn't even a candidate yet. I don't think I even need to comment on Fox.


CNN was created to fill a hole in people's lives; the sense that something important is always happening. Fact is it isn't. Even sourcing 'news' from all over the globe, most of these tidbits are properly forgotten within a day's time. That's why it's paradoxical that even though I earn a living from television, I have the Globe and Mail delivered and use it as my primary news medium. The axiom in television news is "if it bleeds, it leads" meaning that visually engaging stories with interesting visuals make the lead on the six o'clock news whereas the same story is confined to a sidebar in the next day's paper. That sort of gives you a better perspective on television 'news'.


Originally posted by Tenebrous
My real question in all this is, is this us being intentionally dumbed down to be good little sheep, or are we honestly so complacent and not wanting to think so much, that this is just what the market is demand, so the networks are producing?


Personally, I would suggest then latter and the networks are looking at the ratings and responding to apparent demand. That said, look at HBO back in the day. They've been pretty consistent (operative word: pretty) in churning out intelligent television and becoming the go-to channel when you want to be challenged. But that didn't happen overnight.

That said, television's an escape and the predominance of one type of programming over another is indicative of the demands of the audience. When you're satisfied in your life/job/whatever, leaving yourself open to a program that challenges you is much easier. When you hate your jobs/spouse/whatever, what you want most is an escape. Look at the programming schedule and tell me which sort group is presently making up the majority of society.

Fitz



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 01:10 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


Please, tell me what am I supposed to be doing with my life? What is my purpose? You seem very sure that only dumb people watch (alot) of TV so as an apparent "dumb" person, I would really like your take on how I should live my life.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 01:19 PM
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reply to post by Fitzgibbon
 
Board software forbids me from starring your post more than once, so will you please interpret that one star from me as five?

How comforting to know that there is at least one other person on ATS who understands how the media really work, and is unafraid to explain it. I'm sure there are others, but for now at least they're keeping shtum.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 01:27 PM
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Originally posted by 3rdEyeOpen
I believe that tv could be used for many more purposes than what it is currently being used for. I agree that the bulk of tv programming is utter garbage and realistically, I don't think that any member of this forum will disagree with that.


As a professional, I'd concur. However, any mass medium will respond to what the mass demands. It's just in their nature to do so.


Originally posted by 3rdEyeOpen
But there are certain programs that serve to awaken people to the true nature of reality and of life itself. I would not have some of the knowledge that I hold dear now if I wasn't watching programs that opened my eyes to it. I've seen many documentaries on a British channel (skythree, I believe) that were thoughtful, relevant and educational. As far as North American broadcasts go, you've got to seek out the gems.


Again, agreed. Ultimately, you have to reward the broadcaster or cablecaster with your attention or eyeballs. Either that or you reward the production company directly by purchasing (where it's an option) a DVD version of the series.


Originally posted by 3rdEyeOpen
And while I believe that tv does "dumb us down", I feel that it may be much more than that. I've often wondered if tv is not merely a reflection of society, but in a way helps to create our society.


Chicken and egg. Television responds to what people are watching and gives them more of the same. It most assuredly does not lead public taste.


Originally posted by 3rdEyeOpen
Through watching tv, we are bombarded with countless images of crime, murder, sex and violence. Is it possible that this constant portrayal of a world gone mad serves to perpetuate the notion, and in turn, makes it a reality?


Sex and violence are basic to all societies. What's paradoxical is that U.S. television has no real issue showing violence but God forbid the chilluns see a nipple.


Originally posted by 3rdEyeOpen
Maybe it's a lot greater than making us more stupid. Maybe the portrayals of average, everyday life serve to make us believe that the world is a dark and evil place.


Real life is grey. It's a constant flux of give-and-take. Absolutes just don't exist in real life. The real world is neither absolutely white nor absolutely black.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 01:38 PM
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Originally posted by TheOracle
It's more of an issue for our children. The spend too much time in front of the TV and it is dumbing them down. TV make a lot of their education nowadays, kids would rather believe the TV set than their parents!
And the rare educational programs are often at times/channels unreachable for them.


Children should have a limited exposure to television primarily because they're in the prime of their lives insofar as creating neural connections and learning is concerned. Personal experience is the only real way they're going to accomplish that and television isn't personal experience. To use the coloquialism, television is an electronic tit, best suckled once one knows what flows therefrom. It has its place but children aren't the best judges of what that place is and adults shouldn't be using it as an electronic babysitter.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 01:44 PM
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I hate it when people say TV does this and that. comon people you want to tell me that books aren't anything but educational. they are the same thing as TV/internet and games. if you want brainwash you find it in any medium. and books only educate you on how to write and stuff while TV just shuts down your brain, which is a good thing considering the mess most countries are in. I dont want to think about the economy, obama, war or terrorists which is why i watch tv
seriously it all depends on what you watch and read. only th content dont bash the medium because TV is a great thing of the 20th century and this century as well hopefully.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 02:01 PM
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I have to agree with the OP, T.V. is dumbing us down.
For example take the song American Idiot by Green Day. I
ts explains it all, about America.



American Idiot

Don't want to be an American idiot.
Don't want a nation under the new media
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind f**k America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn't meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We're not the ones who're meant to follow.
For that's enough to argue.

Well maybe I'm the fa***t America.
I'm not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along to the age of paranoia.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn't meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We're not the ones who're meant to follow.
For that's enough to argue.

Don't want to be an American idiot.
One nation controlled by the media.
Information age of hysteria.
It's calling out to idiot America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn't meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We're not the ones who're meant to follow.
For that's enough to argue.


It sums it up pretty nicely.
But T.V. is just a new form of entertainment. Nothing more, nothing less.

EDIT: Spelling Errors

[edit on 30-3-2008 by Harvestfreak]



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 02:10 PM
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For some twisted reason, I can't view my latter two replies nor those of anybody who posted after my fist post on pg. 3. If there's anything I should respond to, please email me at fitzgibbon at rogers dot calm as opposed to u2uing me (since I only have 3 left and am into negative integers which prevent me from replying in kind)



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 02:18 PM
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TV is like every other aspect of life- it has the potential to do good, or harm.
Several posters mentioned that even educational TV is biased. That may be true, but then again, what media is not? Do you think that just because something is in a history textbook, that it is NOT biased? Of course it is. All you have to do is pick up an American history book that deals with World War II, and compare it to a Russian history book dealing with the same subject. You wouldn't think that you were dealing with the same subject. Every author, director, producer or commentator has their own agenda, and each colors the subject matter to fit that agenda.
However, on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being completely unbiased, I would list the following as at least 8's:
1.) Carl Sagan's COSMOS series-IMO, one of the best science series ever produced.
2.) Universe- which does a good job of presenting opposing theories regarding many of the topics
3.) The original PBS Adams Chronicles
4.) HBO's new John Adams series

Of course, experts in the above subject matter may not pick up a lot, but for the average person, anyone watching those shows probably came away more educated than they were, before they watched those series.

Like what food you feed your children, parents have to be careful what programs their children watch. Feeding the body and the mind requires vigilance if both are to be properly nourished.

I also believe that since this thread is on ATS, the audience may not be the typical audience that watches a lot of TV intensely, since many of us are on ATS more than we are sitting in front of a TV.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 05:19 PM
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I dont think anyone brought this up yet. "Watching TV actually induces alpha brain waves".. similar to what hypnotists put people into... hmmm... interesting!

"While watching television, the brain appears to slow to a halt, registering low alpha wave readings on the EEG. This is caused by the radiant light produced by cathode ray technology [CRT, LCDs also?] within the television set [increases serotonin levels?]. Even if you're reading text on a television screen the brain registers low levels of activity. Once again, regardless of the content being presented, television essentially turns off your nervous system."

Television: Opiate of the Masses

"Psychophysiologist Thomas Mulholland found that after just 30 seconds of watching television the brain begins to produce alpha waves, which indicates torpid (almost comatose) [slow] rates of activity. Alpha brain waves are associated with unfocused, overly receptive states of consciousness. A high frequency alpha waves [sic] does not occur normally when the eyes are open. In fact, Mulholland’s research implies that watching television is neurologically analogous to staring at a blank wall.

I should note that the goal of hypnotists is to induce slow brain wave states. Alpha waves are present during the 'light hypnotic' state used by hypno-therapists for suggestion therapy."

Television: Opiate of the Masses

Telly Addicts

“Radiant light, the light of [CRT] cathode ray technology [LCD fluorescent backlights also emit light], produces a dramatic downscaling of all brain activity associated with high energy, alert, healthy, disequilibrium [the term disequilibrium is used here to describe the flexibility of brainwave states?]. Television and VDT [video display terminal] viewing take from the brain the best features of its highest non-passive functioning.

McLuhan Studies: Issue 3: Chaos and the Meaning of Electric Culture

· “Acoustic work, like composition from memory,

· Silent reading [should say ‘out loud’ instead of silent?], and

· Mental arithmetic

all require and induce the faster brain wave production.”

McLuhan Studies: Issue 3: Chaos and the Meaning of Electric Culture

“Literate activity,

· Reading,

· Writing and

· Talking carefully,

are activities that provide a sufficiently chaotic base to experience--that there is always the tendency for these activities to complexify [increase activity in the frontal lobes] further and speed up the brain.”

McLuhan Studies: Issue 3: Chaos and the Meaning of Electric Culture

“Activities such as

· Reading a televised text,

· Watching TV,

· Watching a televised interview,

are all noticeably downscale in the range of the slowest and least chaotic of brain wave activity (cf. Emery 627).”

McLuhan Studies: Issue 3: Chaos and the Meaning of Electric Culture

“The Emerys conclude, with impressive neuro-physiological evidence to back their claims concerning the function of Theta waves, that television is ‘a maladaptive technology,’ a technology that injures the health of the user. They set up a set of conditions showing the relationship between high Theta presence and low brain wave response in the situation of TV use…”


Here is a link to the whole page.. www.causeof.org... I came across this few weaks ago when I was doing some research on brainwaves and meditating.

I recently have been told about this new HoloSync technology that induces certain brainwaves for meditating using sound. www.centerpointe.com... (Ive tried it.. I can definitely tell it does what they say.)
Kinda makes you wonder if they are also using the sound in TV shows to affect brainwaves as well as the light as mentioned above.



[edit on 30-3-2008 by danman23]

[edit on 30-3-2008 by danman23]



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 05:25 PM
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So basically, it seems like they are actually hypnotizing people and feeding them whatever they want. So.. while you are watching the news they are actually forcing you to believe what they are saying.. and after you come out of it you believe that is actually the truth, kinda like how a hypnotist will tell the person they are a chicken and they actually believe they are a chicken. That would work wonders for advertising as well.. if they tell you to go buy a certain product you will go buy that product.



....TV is really bad for you! Use your brain.. don't let it waste away in front of a screen.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 05:55 PM
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reply to post by danman23
 





I dont think anyone brought this up yet. "Watching TV actually induces alpha brain waves".. similar to what hypnotists put people into... hmmm... interesting!


Actually, that is a highly contested point in the psychological community today.

Miron et al. (2001)
Miron et al. (2001) reviewed research evidence that contradicts the “zombie-viewer” line of research contending that TV viewing is associated with dominant alpha activity, that is, low cortical arousal.
As Zillmann (1991b) pointed out, for most North American viewers, television
sometimes serves as an “unwinder.” On such occasions, they choose content that will diminish their noxious states of hyperarousal. Kubey’s (Kubey, 1984, 1986, 1996; Kubey & Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) research evidence documents the effectiveness of television for inducing relaxation. But viewers also, on other occasions, use television for excitement; exposure can be highly
arousing. Zillmann discusses the circumstances under which television serves as an unwinder versus for excitement.


reference:
www.sagepub.co.uk...

Also, you might enjoy reading Dorothy Singer's book:

www.amazon.com...
Handbook of Children and the Media. In it, she also refutes concept that tv has a direct causative relationship with alpha waves.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 05:59 PM
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reply to post by Frankidealist35
 


I would say both "yes" and "no" without intent of coping out at all. Both are conditional.

I would say it's the lack of reading, itself, rather than the "too much TV," which is at fault.

Too many parents use TV as a "babysitter" and actually believe their small toddler in the pay pen is being "educated by "educational children TV shows," etc., themselves and fail to realize that direct interact at a young age, exploration, and stimulation, are key factors.

By the time the children are 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, they have the worst learning and reading habits in the world, and the parents want to blame the schools.

Mind you, no, I am not a school teacher.

But I am incessantly telling a friend of mine that children learn by example. She screams at them all the time, and rages that they yell, are loud, and don't listen.

I tell her they listen to me, which they do, but I do not raise my voice, and they know I am angry without me yelling at them.

She says they won't listen if she doesn't, and I point out that anyone who is constantly yelled at eventually just drowns out the yelling and ignores it, which is much of what her kids do nowadays.

And reading? You can forget that with most of them. But then their own mom won't. If I use a word she doesn't know, she demands I tell her what it means. If I say she should look it up, she refuses, belligerently, and this is their mom, and then she wonders why they don't do well in school.

I think it is many factors.

For sure TV does nothing to help.

Try going without TV for a few days, a week, and you'll be amazed at the changes in your buying habits, even.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 06:48 PM
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i would like to know if most of the watchers of family guy or american dad understand some of the jokes , especially the political ones.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 07:38 PM
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Excellent post, dantheman


I also must put forth the idea that the act of sitting around and passively observing is a biological reward mechanism . Can this not be agreed?

Whether or not television seeks to actively 'hypnotize' us, it does in fact hypnotize us. Sitting by the fire and listening to stories is the first kind of passive entertainment that we might have known. Or simply sitting and observing the terrain, resting etc.

These are all activities that the biology of a person and animal must reward, with release of endorphins, etc. The act of relaxing and being lazy is among the sensual pleasures hardwired to us. Combine that with passive observation of television for hours, constant exposure to electromagnetic interference...

T.V.'s are a marvel but they are definitely the elephant in the room as far as evolution goes. No person grows as a human being watching other people.

[edit on 30-3-2008 by NewWorldOver]



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 08:22 PM
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reply to post by dracodie
 


I understand most of them, however there's some political figures mentioned that I don't get. Usually this is actually because they're American figures and I've never heard of them because I'm not American!

Outside of that there's a similar situation with jokes based on celebrities. I don't care for celebrity gossip, so those slip past me too.



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 06:27 AM
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Originally posted by Duality

Originally posted by NewWorldOver
This is almost impossible to prove because the television itself blurs through 24 frames - it's not like a digital video where we can record each frame and tick through it on playback.


Unless the theory goes that the flickering itself is hypnotic, doesn't this quote almost debunk the idea of images being inserted on its own?



NewWorldOver may be referring to the PAL television standard of Europe which is based on a 25 frame per second rate, the NTSC standard of the North America is 30 frames per second. 24frames per second is a film rate.

The blanking interval is different, its duration is really closer to .3 of a 30th of a second. It simply means that when we stare at any screen(computers as well) what our eyes perceive as a solid image is a burst of pulsing light, that our brains are capable of recording for later reference.

Now, while there is a certain portion of the population that are satisfied intellectually by staring at a burst of pulsing light. Even those people who endeavor to seek higher knowledge are affected by TV's hypnotic glow

The human brain can process 4 billion bits of information per second, but is only consciously aware of 2000 bits.

That is why some people are unaware of there own programing

Again , being programed or hypnotized is irrelevant to intelligence

although , that is not very refreshing is it?(refreshing get it)

Digital images are even less honest as they are "quantized"(converted into a 10 base system). Digital images are only a convenient representation of reality, not reality itself which is analog based.

Digital reality measured by digital devices will always include a "sampling rate" and "quantization errors"(as curved lines of reality are meshed into square digital forms)

So, ultimately most people are not dumbed down by TV but confused between the difference of real world reality and what is presented as reality via the TV.(which just happens to work great for trauma based programming
of the masses)




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