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Humans welcome technological inventions and discoveries and the benefits they bring to people’s lives. This was the case when Wilhelm Roentgen discovered x-rays. Within five years, the British Army was using a mobile x-ray unit to locate bullets and shrapnel in wounded soldiers in the Sudan. TV was also invented with dreams of positive benefits for humanity – TV would make everyone global citizens. In addition, its global reach would provide providing educational and entertainment opportunities for all. However, there are also unforeseen consequences of technological inventions and not all are good. This essay looks at some of the negative physical and psychological consequences of excessive TV in people’s lives.

The most serious physical consequence of too much TV watching is obesity. A person who watches a lot of TV is about as active as a potato. Thus people who watch TV excessively are often referred to as ‘couch potatoes’. To add to this problem of inactivity while watching TV, many people consume lots of snacks in front of the TV. Here’s a common scenario: While Joe watches TV he does little besides using the remote control, but he might eat a bag of chips or cookies without being aware of his behavior. He consumes calories without burning them through activity. The combination of inactivity and snacking that often goes with watching TV inevitably leads to added pounds.

Apart from the physical effects, TV also causes psychological effects. The constant exposure to violence desensitizes people to the horrible and irreversible consequences of violence. After frequently seeing violent scenes on TV, people start perceiving violent actions as normal, and short-lived or temporary. They lose their sensitivity to the consequences of violent acts. They don’t realize that violence causes human suffering and destruction and that it doesn’t disappear instantly like it does with a channel or scene change.

Another negative psychological element of TV is the influence on interpersonal communication and relationships. TV watching tends to reduce communication in a household. A lot of people like to relax in front of the TV when they get home after work. This is easier than talking to someone else who might need something, or who might want to discuss something that requires your full attention. TV can pull our energy from important things or people in our lives that need our attention, so our relationships might suffer because of watching too much TV.

The invention of TV is like many other inventions. It has the potential for beneficial or harmful consequences depending on the choices people make and their ability to use it wisely. TV can harm our physical or our mental health. It can also be a wonderful resource for education and entertainment. Personal choices determine whether TV is a negative or positive invention in our lives.

Written by Mohammed Kassim, 2013

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