As we move forward in advancing technology and communications, the role of television as the centerpiece of society’s focus has grown in recent decades. More and more this particular media machine integrates with leisure time and plays a larger part in the lives of ordinary men and women.
Some see this as a good thing, with the convenience and availability of an ever growing variety of programming catering for all manner of tastes from the educational and instructional through pure dramatic entertainment to the banal and nonsensical. Others see the increasing invasion of television and its sidekick advertising into people’s heads as intrusive at best and insidious at its worst.
Whether you have an opinion one way or another will have little effect on a rolling snowball that has gathered far too much mass and momentum to be stopped or even lowed down. People rely on their precious TV sets to provide them with the bulk of their daily fix of news and current affairs information paying no mind to whether that information is useful, necessary or even wanted or not.
After a hard day at the office, the TV is the first thing most tired and mentally stressed workers turn to in order to relax and let the strains of their day melt away in a fantasy world created for their entertainment (see subtv.org for further information). That it fills most of their evenings until it is time to go to bed is not an issue for most people as they have allowed it to integrate so completely into their lives that there simply is not any alternative form of nightly escape from their reality.
That because of its very nature, television programs actually rob people of their imaginative function by taking over that area of brain faculty and providing them with a visual and auditory replacement that is so good their hardly seems any point in using the imagination for anything. Again, most don’t see it that way and carry on as if there wasn’t a problem in the world.
However, for the person that stops and thinks for themselves for long enough, the realization that their imagination is a marvelous and vitally important part of life itself punctures the tough membrane of television’s cocoon and it dawns on them that there is a life away from the goggle box if they only had enough desire left to break out of their virtual prisons and reach for reality once more.
Historically, television was meant to provide a form of entertainment that had its place and its time in people’s lives and no more. It has grown up and with it several generations of viewers that simply have not seen the gradual increase in the way it now integrates into our lives and for many, controls it in ways that are unnoticed and probably never will be.
See http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED295271 for information on how this form of media influences cognitive development.