In a July 5, 2011 editorial called The Ubiquitous Scourge, political commentator Rich Lowry summed up the challenge facing presenters and all learning professionals by the ubiquitous presence of television in our lives.
Lowery reports that in 1950, less than 10 percent of U.S. households owned a television. Televisions now outnumber people in the average American household.
The statistics in Lowry’s piece are pretty damning.
- In 2009, we watched, on average, more than five hours a day of television. 2011 figures will likely show an increase on that number. Children ages 2-5 spend an average of 32 hours a week watching television
- Seventy-one percent of 8-18 year olds have a television in their bedroom. Those TVs increase television viewing by an average of 1.5 hours per day
- Every hour a toddler spends watching television decreases classroom engagement, math achievement, and physical activity. It increases school bullying, soft drink consumption, and body mass index.
- And yet, television is inescapable. No matter where you go, be it the store, the airport, or just visiting friends, television is unavoidable.
This Examiner noticed the issue on, of all things, a relaxing cruise ship vacation. in 2004, Princess Cruise Line began installing oversized video screens poolside on its ships. Most cruise line pool areas had a relaxing ambiance where people interacted with each other. Comparatively, Princess poolside passengers on this cruise spent their poolside time looking up at a screen, not interacting with others. Most of the major lines have now, of course, installed those screens.
The issues that result from this flood of television are real. In his article, Lowry reports the following results from too much television.
- Mistrustful behavior
- Cheapened political discourse
- Weakened family ties
- Lower face-to-face socialization skills
- Poor grades in school
- Sleep problems
- Behavior problems
- Risky behavior
- Exposing children to sex
- Inures people to violence
For presenters, all of these behaviors lead to classrooms filled with over-sized, attention-deficited, gossip-focused, logic-addled, entertainment-demanding attendees.
There is, unfortunately, no easy answer to this problem. This joltleft.combats the problem with shortened segments featuring relevant content, emotionally connected, and entertainingly delivered. Do you have a different answer? If so, what is it?
I’d write more right now, but and I can’t miss my favorite shows. It’s almost time for Hell’s Kitchen.