The effects of television: Does it really make you stupid?

 

It’s no secret that TV has been dumbed down over the years. The programming is laden with family sitcoms about fat, dumb husbands and their sarcastic, skinny wives. Reality TV has taken over much of the air time with shows about cheaters, skanks, drunks and bachelorettes with no upper lip.

In an article titled “How TV Makes You Dumb,” the author states that watching television is something that is being done to you, not with you, therefore leaving you unchallenged, passive, non-interactive and in a drug-induced state. The TV takes the place of activities that could actually teach us things and force our minds to expand and grow, like talking to other people and reading books.

While television is indeed a mind-numbing experience, it’s only going to have a negative effect if you watch shows that are only on television for dumb entertainment. For people who sit at home all day watching E! or MTV, then yes, they are indeed not being challenged and turning their intellect to mush. It all depends on what people are actually watching, how often and what they’re taking away from it.

Confession time. I watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Teen Mom and the Bravo network.

According to the article, watching this crap distorts my view on actual reality, which in turn makes me less equipped to deal with the world intelligently. This statement would be true if I actually was watching these shows and drinking in everything that was happening and enjoying it.

There’s just one problem.

As I watch these shows, I’m laughing and providing commentary on everything, Mystery Science Theater 3000 style.
I know full and well that the Kardashians are all talentless beasts who are famous for no reason other than one of them releasing a sex tape years back.
To assume that everyone who watches dumb programs are actually sitting there and taking it all in like a life lesson, that’s untrue. People like to escape from their lives and watch others on television.

We like to watch a program where the people are jokes on society. This gives reassurance that our own lives are okay, and that we are doing things the right way, such as going to college and bettering ourselves for our futures.

Watching Kim Kardashian whine about the media blasts on her elephant-sized behind makes me feel better about my current life choices.

Television may have its major spotlights on unintelligent programming, but there really are good shows to watch. The History Channel is amazing in its coverage that satiates the thirst of any history buff, or Titanic buff like myself (let the laughter ensue).  The Discovery Channel is full of programs that teach you about survival, animal species and technology.

I’m also obsessed with shows such as American Justice and Cold Case Files, real crime shows that take me through a case from beginning to end. When I watch these programs I am indeed interacting with the show and take away a lot of information that I remember and learn from.

But it doesn’t change the fact that people sometimes do need to put their brains on bed rest. The smart people, the ones who can differentiate reality from reality TV, deserve a fun break every now and then. A chance for a drugged-up TV marathon is welcomed. That kind of numbness and brain-dead mentality does have its upsides sometimes. It got me through Twilight.

About Gillian Hadland