"It wasn't until I became a teacher that I began to be driven crazy by TV," wrote John Taylor Gatto in an article(1) for American Enterprise. He claimed that kids who were heavy TV watchers were often "malicious to each other and sunk in chronic boredom."
The average person in the industrialized world watches three hours of TV per day, which amounts to about half of their leisure time. At that rate, if you live to 75, you'll spend a total of 9 years glued to the tube! Studies have associated TV's drawing power with our biological "orienting response," which is an instinctive attraction to certain types of visual stimuli. In an exploration of TV addiction, published in Scientific American(2), the authors found that people reported feeling more relaxed and passive while watching TV. But the relaxed feeling ended when the set was shut off and many participants said they felt as though their energy was sucked out of them.
A mountain community that previously had no TV, was studied to see how they changed after they were hooked up with cable. Over time it was found that both adults and children became less creative in problem solving and showed less perseverance at tasks. Well, I could go on, but I've got to run-- there's a cool special about aliens on the History Channel on now!