We all have our own guilty pleasure TV show. However, this seemingly harmless form of entertainment can hurt more than it helps. Studies have shown many negative effects resulting from watching television. Most people who watch TV are victims of at least one of our eight reasons why too much TV can ruin a person’s life.
If people don’t want to do something they will do nearly anything else, coming up with many excuses as they can to not do it. Sometimes, this even includes other tasks they hate to do such as cleaning the living room or washing dishes.
Watching TV ranks at the top of the list of a procrastinator’s resources. The problem is that the TV is such an effective distraction. Many people find that once they begin watching one program, they simply cannot pull themselves away from the TV and end up watching a lot more than the one episode they originally intended to watch. With other tasks people choose to procrastinate with, the chore will eventually be completed. This forces a person to move on to the task he or she should be doing. In comparison, watching TV is an intriguing time-waster that doesn’t end.
2) Effects Intelligence
We’ve all heard the expression “TV will rot your brain.” Many researchers won’t go so far as to say that watching TV can make you dumber; however, they do agree that it does not help you progress further in the area of intelligence, even if the shows are “educational.”
Studies on developing children show that prolonged television exposure changes brain structure as well as developing speech. A Japanese study even found that verbal and other skills contributing to an IQ score were negatively effected by watching television, leading to an overall lower score. Keeping this knowledge in mind, one needs to be careful of how many hours he or she watches.
3) Lack of Socialization
The more you watch TV, the less likely you are to interact with others. This is true for family, friends, and even your kids. Television works by disconnecting people of all ages. For parents, some can recall a time when their child got into trouble, fell down, or broke something because they sat down for a moment to relax and watch television. For others, they may even have even cancelled a night out with their friends because they wanted to binge-watch reality TV or the newest episode of their favorite TV show. Both of these scenarios are much more common than you may think.
Watching television has a relaxing effect on us, during which we don’t want to deal with anything or anyone else. Whether the negative effects are lethargy, numbness, or procrastination, watching too much television hurts our socializing skills, leading some people into a completely isolated life where even their best friends aren’t interested in hanging out with them anymore.
4) Skews Reality
Television skewing reality is something many people have difficulty believing and understanding. Thanks to CSI and NCIS, millions of Americans think that solving a forensic case is a simple matter of photographing fingerprints in the field, or dipping a smart phone sensor into a droplet of blood to identify a felon or for a forensic match to a “vic.” Things like holographic interfaces that show you exactly how a crime occurred, the specific weapon down to a brand and model number, and a complete evaluation of all fibers, pollens, and plants in a specific area of the world, are probably too advanced of technology for current law enforcement. These sort of misconceptions are not limited to crime fighting shows.
Another type of show that warps reality is reality television. These “reality” shows skew the public perception of life by taking the most outrageous candidates that producers know will conflict with each other, and portray them committing unrealistic and outlandish actions. Much like media discussion in a political year, viewers are being skewed in the direction the producers want you to see things, not the way things actually are.
5) Costs Money and Affects Spending Habits
Regardless of how you watch television, or how much television you watch, most Americans assume the cost of television as an essential utility in their home just like water and gas. This often results in a cable bill becoming a priority over other more important bills and debts such as the car payment, or credit card bills. In itself this displays the shocking value Americans place on their “shows.”
Whether a person places a budget on by deferring to Netflix and Hulu, or sticks to satellite or cable television, he or she is likely looking at bills ranging from $75 to $300 a month.
In addition to the bills, watching television also affects spending habits due to commercials and celebrity sponsored products. Many television viewers admittedly report they frequently purchase items they see on television, and that commercials are primary sources for identifying new products.
6) Leads to Weight Gain
Watching television, in itself, does not cause people to gain weight. It is the state of sitting around and not moving around that contributes to gaining weight. There are currently several studies indicating that people tend to identify junk food as their food of choice while watching television. We’re talking chips and dip, popcorn, fried snacks, pizza, and all that stuff that tastes really good but no one can deny is bad for us.
Television has not only changed what we eat, but has also changed how and where we eat. Only a few decades ago most people ate at a dining table with family. Now, people tend to eat in front of the television, going as far as to turn the dining room into another living area, or home office.
These changes have contributed to waistlines expanding, and as we become more engaged in the latest trend of reality TV, it looks as though many people are going to be stretching out their pants even more, unless, of course, you invest in a treadmill for the living room.
7) Damaging to Relationships
As much flak as a lot of guys get for playing too many video games, women are now facing flak for obsession over television, often times over reality television in particular. However, although women are often criticized for this, when it comes to television addiction men, should carry just as much blame. The main problem with this obsession is that partners often have different TV show preferences. Whether it is a dispute over who controls the remote, what shows are DVR’d, or one partner having a problem with the other partner watching too much television instead of spending quality time together, television is becoming a huge relationship buster.
In addition, what we are watching affects our relationships in a negative way by altering perceptions of how relationships should work. For instance, watching shows where couples have unnaturally perfect relationships can alter one’s belief to thinking that he or she is in a bad relationship, changing his or her attitude towards his or her partner, and possibly ending the relationship.
8) Could Shorten Your Life
Australian researchers have studied the effects of television watching on life-expectancy. Due to the sedentary effects of watching television, as well as poor food choices, it has long been assumed that watching too much television can lead to heart problems and diabetes. With the study conducted between 2000 and 2009, researchers concluded that watching 6 hours of television a day can contribute to 5 years loss-of-life.
While everyone is different and this is one of the first studies done on life span and television watching, the activity is considered bad for health across the board if done in excess, and if no lifestyle changes are implemented to improve overall health, such as regular exercise and healthy eating.