Chewing Gum for the Mind
The Word Boob Tube has an interesting Etymology. Coined back in the 1960’s “Boob” was originally slang for an Idiot and Televisions were made up of the Cathode Ray Tube along with various Vacuum Tubes.
Last Week my Wife came across a somewhat graphic Sex Scene while changing channels on the TV around 9PM. The Movie turned out to be “Election” from 1999. It received an “R” rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) due to Strong Sexual Content, Sex-related Dialogue and a scene involving Drug Use. The channel was CHCH (11) which is a regular Network TV Channel. Most Children are still up around that time.
While I was surprised to hear that it was on TV, I wasn’t entirely shocked.
Back in 1997 the Canadian TV classification system was created to be used along with the V-Chip. The concept behind TV Ratings was to give Parents the ability to determine what would be suitable programming for their Children.
The Rating’s System is as follows:
- C: Programming suitable for children ages of two to seven years. No profanity or sexual content of any level allowed. Minimal comedic violence.
- C8: Suitable for children ages eight and older. Low intensity violence and fantasy horror allowed. No foul language but occasional “socially offensive and discriminatory” language allowed if in the context of the story. No sex or nudity. Usually used for teen shows or shows that are mostly about “fantasy violence”.
- G: General. Similar to the Canadian/American movie rating of the same name; programming suitable for the entire family with mild violence, and very mild profanity (including bleeped language) or sexual content.
- PG: Parental guidance. Again, similar to the movie rating of the same name. Moderate use of violence and mild profanity allowed, as is brief nudity and sexual references if important to a storyline.
- 14+: Similar to 14A rating. Programming intended for children ages 14 and older. May contain strong violence and profanity, and depictions of sexual activity within the context of a story.
- 18+: Similar to 18A rating. Programming intended for viewers ages 18 and older. May contain extreme violence, strong language, and sexual activity. Programming with this rating may air after the (9:00 PM).
I am not here to debate the effectiveness of the V-Chip and Ratings System, but rather how Television has been negatively impacting our Lives
The Television has always been a direct reflection of our Society. The Litmus Test of current Social and Moral norms. What is and is not accepted in our Day to Day lives. What we are willing to tolerate and what is intolerable.
Shows from the 1950’s often depicted clean, wholesome, Family friendly content. There was no ratings system or disclaimer for anything unsuitable. There was no need for it.
Now, contrast that with the content in today’s Shows and the difference is unsettling to say the least. There are some that would argue 1950’s TV glossed over many societal issues such as racism and inequality. However today’s shows, while exposing and sensationalizing the Dark underbelly of Society, also do not address the issues they so often graphically depict. Even the News is guilty of glamourizing gruesome events.
As a result, what has happened is something far worse than just hiding the important issues of the day.
We have become numb and desensitized to the Immorality and Depravity of the World we Live In. We are bombarded with images, ideas and garbage from a vast wasteland of channels. The Social Influence and Negative Impact that TV has is undeniable. We are, after all, Sheep.
Studies at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Centre in Seattle have shown that young children under 2, should not be exposed to more than 2 Hours of Television a day. Detrimental effects include an increased chance of attention deficit disorder by 10%. The number increases to 30% after 3 hours of exposure.
The Rating’s system has allowed television networks to Wash their hands of any wrongdoing. It has given them Carte Blanche. They can hide behind their disclaimers and practically get away with airing anything they please.
Don’t Empower the TV Networks.
Televised Executions aren’t very far away. Polls show that Americans would consider watching them on Pay per View. They’d love to watch Bin Laden Executed or the Next Dictator Hang for his Crimes. What’s next ? A reality show for Pedophiles and Rapists ? It is the Viewing Audience that Feeds this Monster. We created it. We allow it to Live. We Tolerate and even Welcome it into Our Homes.
As a Parent you have many choices. The simplest of these is to TURN THE TV OFF. Some families have even gone as far as removing it from the household altogether. Do something worthwhile with your Family. Go to Mass. Go Outside for a Walk. Make the evening a Family Night with Board Games or just talk to each other. Talk to God. Thank Him for What you Have.
Enjoy the God-given Beauty the World has to Offer and don’t lose the Precious Moments of your Family’s Life wasting away in front of the boob tube.