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Commentary :: Education
Kids under three should not watch TV
14 Dec 2005
As square-trancing replaces square-dancing, kids brains clearly decay.
If you have kids, plan on having a peaceful old age, or would simply prefer not to be mugged before Monday, have a read of this:

http://www.whale.to/b/sigman.html

It is Aric Sigman's summary of research and opinions about what is wrong with television, particulaly for kids. That's the bad news. The good news is, it is relatively easy to cure the problem. All you need is a brick, and a dustpan and broom for the shards.

Sigman is a doctor with a lot of experience and he puts it all very well. I will just add a few rank-amateur observations, if you should care to read on.

I arrived in Australia in '76 as a sort of cultural antique, if not actually a fossil. I grew up in a country, South Africa, which for reasons of right-wing paranoia did not want TV around. So I owe them one. They had however given up the year before, but we could not afford a telly. So I had seen about 3 hours all up, on holiday in Rhodesia and Britain.

I noticed a bit after I arrived, that the kids in Australia seemed a bit wooden. Relative to kids in South Africa, of all hues, they were a little slow to react to being greeted, or to ordinary conversation. I put it down to culture, though not at first to TV culture. Then I worked briefly in Fiji, and the kids were all bright again and interested in the real world. Next, I started finding kids here who were as bright as the TV-free others. When I asked their parents, without fail their kids had not been allowed to watch TV. Most of those families did not own one. Sigman reports that the most expensive schools in Britain now do nor have them either. The penny has dropped in the upper echelons of priviledge-scrounging at least.

To Sigman's list I would add one more thing. Boxhead kids grow up watching faces that do not respond to their expressions, or in fact to anything they say or do. If TV supplies most of the faces they see so they do not grow up automatically relating human faces to human beings, Mostly they just relate faces to bozos, virtual people, jumping dots that ape faces but jump without taking any notice of you. Powerlessness to perfection. No wonder kids do not participate politically much now and so many social institutions have vanished.

Hitching in England long ago, I met a man who had long trained boys in the Boys Brigade, a sort of older, Anglican church version of the Scouts. He had done so for 40 years, I think it was, twenty before TVand twenty after. He said before TV came, the kids were great. They were enthusiastic about all sorts of things, and you could do anything with them. After, you could do nothing.

I have found, as I still occasionally hitchhike, that many youngsters in cars more and more do not relate to you at all. Most are the ones who wear sunglasses on overcast days. You are just a bozo in a TV screen fitted with wipers. Last trip, outside Adelaide six hurled abuse and one a can. A world record plus some. My average after 35 years of hitching, in I think ten countries, was about one sledging per trip and one can in the whole series. To boxheads, I suggest, other people do not really exist. They are just part of the entertainment. So muggings and the government version, wars, remain popular. You can kill or main people quite happily, because aubliminally you know the bozo will be back next week, hale and hearty. The joystick killer games reinforce it all.

The very worst soldiers, the real killers, according to the UN or perhaps it was Amnesty, are those aged 8 to 14. I do not suggest every murderous child soldier has grown up with TV, but more and more are doing so, watching such nightly courtesies as mock CIA bozos "rendeing" i.e. torturing, all sorts of other bozos in bash operas.

Watch your backs, you in the aging classes. As we are all aging at exactly the same rate that is look out all of us, kids included. Eventually, we may become almost indistinguishable from the bozos we imprint and dote on. As the real world is not the terminator's town, wheat does not grow in virtual fields and edible fish do not swim into nets in virtual seas, we may nor make it as a species, unless we snap out of it. The square trance, that is.

But do not be despondent. This is amazing news. Like I said, we can cure a huge swag of our current social ills just with the common brick.

Kids have a right to be protected from harm. We hence need to debate these propositions:

1) Making it illegal and a serious criminal offence to allow kids under the age of three to watch TV.

2) Shutting down the TV during the day and having only perhaps four hours of it on per day, in the week, say from 7pm till 11pm. with maybe six houirs a day on weekends.

3) Putting an end to all Plod is my Shepherd soapies and other violent dross.

An entrenched and well-fed industry will howl and hoot but stuff them. They are putting the survival of our species and of many others in serious jepopardy. The evidence is now in that they are mentally retarding all their younger viewers,. irrevocably. Sigman puts the loss of libido in later life down to adults seeing too many bozos fitted with breath-taking bodies and too much screen sex. Maybe it is a worse than that. Maybe the boxheads, now almost all of us, cannot relate to the opposite sex properly at all, because of early brain disfunction and mal-adaptive patterning.

We need to put a stop to this parent-induced mass stupidity. Three generations have been seriously brain-damaged in many families and that should be the end of it. The next generation should be free of this burden. There are enough real problems facing humanity and the biosphere, that we cannot afford to raise more billions of people with damaged brains. You are not required by law to have a TV in your home, so do not go looking for someone else to blame. All the victim slots in this particular blamegame are already taken by the kids. You, if a parent or older friend, are assumed to be an adult. You have been informed. Your kids may sue you. If you are under three, I suggest you read this to your parents in front of a JP, get them to sign a copy and then file it with your lawyer. It may be worth a mint to you one day, when the oldies re-mortgage your comfort zone and start squandering their ill-gotten gains.

This work is in the public domain
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Re: Kids under three should not watch TV
15 Dec 2005
My 3-year-old watches about 3 hours of TV a day. He's already reading. No brain damage here.
Re: Kids under three should not watch TV
15 Dec 2005
My nephews watch way too much tv, they're 11 and thirteen (I know way over 3), but they've have been doing this for years I tried to buy then books once, didn't go over too big.

Quick question, what do you think is worse for young kids, tv or video games?