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“The Plug-In Drug: Television, Computers, and Family Life” by Marie Winn Essay

In the essay “The Plug-In Drug: Television, Computers, and Family Life” writer and media critic Marie Winn implies that “television addiction” can be a serious addiction and just as destructive and addicting as drugs and alcohol. The author explains how the word “addiction” is sometimes used in too often to or in a joking manner to describe hobbies such as gardening, reading books and eating too many cookies. Mary uses this quote “We are hooked and making an attempt to break the habit” by E.B about his gardening interest to support her argument (181). Marie argues that watching too much television falls into the more destructive category of drugs and alcohol instead of the less serious interest of reading books

Marie argues that like drugs and alcohol addiction to television lets a person escape from reality and once a person starts watching their favorite show the pleasure is so great it is hard to turn off the television. The author implies that interest such as reading books allows a person to escape from reality also but, it is easier to close the book than such off the television and this makes television way more addictive and similar to drugs and alcohol.

The author uses the comparison of an alcoholic who is unaware that they have a problem and has no self-control to a person who puts off meaningful task to get their television fix. Winn using the analogy of an alcoholic “I can cut it out any time I want- I just like to have three or four drinks before dinner”. People who suffer from television addiction know they could do more fulfilling and important interest but, still keep their eyes clued to the screen Winn argues that television addict’s lives are unbalanced because all they do is watch television instead of doing more important, self-filling hobbies and could gain a sense of pride from completing goals.

Winn believes that some people know that they have a problem but, they still find more enjoyment keeping their eyes glued to the television. She also argues that television weakens social bonds and makes people lose a sense of reality and time. Winn final point is that television much like drugs and alcohol can never quench a person thirsty for television and will never satisfy a person’s appetite because it lacks a true value for a person to gain.


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