Anti-TV Arguments and links

Editor's Note: This is offered as a kind of token balance, because I have not found any problems with letting TV be just another option in my kids' lives, nor have I distinguished between TV and watching videos or DVDs or being on the computer (possibly watching videos or DVDs there). —Sandra Dodd "Balance to what?" you might ask? To this.

Some commentary on The Plug-In Drug by an unschooling mom:
Marie Winn insists that TV itself is addictive. But later in her book she says that mothers have to entice their young children to watch TV. Apparently, very young children somehow sense that TV is not real, so they have to be taught how to watch it. Once the kids are hooked, though, mother will not be able to tear their little eyes away from its power.

Another thing that comes out in the later chapters is the author's attitude about children. Basically, they are manipulative little creatures who only want to do what is easy and fun. Modern parents have lost their natural authority over children, so we have to resort to bribery to get them to do what we want. Parents in the good old days didn't have the problems we have today, because they (the parents) insisted on regular naptimes. As children grew, this forced naptime became quiet time, because the children had become accustomed to staying alone in their rooms whether they wanted to or not. They knew that when mother said quiet time, she meant it! Mothers who devoted their children's preschool years to teaching their children how to use scissors and paste (messy, but worth it in the long run!) would have children who could make collages while mother had time to get her important things done. Therefore, the children knew how to entertain themselves.

They didn't need TV! Modern parents do not have to work at parenting, because we rely on TV to keep our children busy and out of our way.

I am not kidding! I have summarized, but the tone is the same as the book's. It just keeps getting more and more absurd and disgusting.

Mary Ellen

Television is an Hallucination
by Frank Martin DiMeglio
Badly written, but short. (This guy used to write and try to get me to change my site. His article can still be seen from the wayback machine:

From the UK Amazon site, a review of Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television:

Jerry Mander has a lot of convincing arguments in this book. However, most of them are not really about the harmfulness of TV. The real title of this book should be _Four Arguments for the Elimination of Capitalism_. Most of the specific anti-TV arguments are spurious and fantastic. I hear that David Bianculli's _Teleliteracy_ presents the other side effectively (unfortunately, it's out of print)."
Islamic Anti-TV site, says "Halal and haram are lost when eyes are mesmerized" and "Those innocent souls, born Muslim, are being given away to the 19" baby sitter to turn them into a lost people." Lots of concrete suggestions for living without TV. (The original is gone, but the link has a WayBack Machine rescue.)

The following arrived by e-mail in September, 2007, from someone I know from my hometown. I knew her mom and some of her siblings; she herself was one of my students years back. (I added paragraph breaks to make it easier to read.)
The Stranger

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on. As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught us good from evil, and Dad taught us to obey. But the stranger...he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies. If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future!

He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made us laugh, and he made us cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind. Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say,and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home... Not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad did permit the liberal use of alcohol. The stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool,cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!)about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... And NEVER asked to leave!! More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents' house today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. His name?..............

We just call him, "TV."
Note: This should be required reading for every household in America!

I'd like to note that she's not 50 years old. I myself, at 54, actually have lived with TV for fifty years. She's just sending on e-mail someone sent to her.

My response was:

Didn't your parents teach you to turn it off? Seriously...
All those evils are in books, too. I'm sure you had a ton of books.


Jewish Anti-TV site, "The Truth About Television," with many links to similar other arguments. [The site has removed that, but the WayBack Machine has it, with a link to the longer version, too, which begins by creating a parallel with ancient Jews discovering the evil pagan practice of child-sacrifice, and goes on to liken TV to that.]

Waldorf Homeschoolers anti-media page. (I've also added a Waldorf image at the bottom of the page, the chalk art)

Turn Off your TV "They put an off button on the TV for a reason. Turn it off . . . I really don't watch much TV." -- President George W. Bush, C-SPAN interview, January 2005 [Editor's note: The world would be SO much better had the man watched much more TV. I can't leave this link without noting that some of the references are lame.]

TV B-Gone is fun. This universal remote control has only one button which can turn TV sets off. Though a little larger than most key fobs, TV B-Gone is surprisingly light. The growing annoyance of television in public places can be eliminated with this handy device." The inventor wrote this: "Me, my life got so much better from watching TV less. As a result, I had enough time to invent TV-B-Gone! My idea was to give others a similar chance — so I created a fun way to get the message out there that turning a TV on or off really is a choice. Anywhere, anytime. Please, go out there and choose." He's basing his LIFE on TV, and has a website against TV. TV is much bigger in his life than it is in mine. —Sandra]

Now the question of morality and legality. The main site of that TV B-Gone page recommends using it "anywhere there's a TV: the office! at your Friend's house! fun at Parties! the Laundromat! in School!" I think that shows a little confusion about private property, purview and government personnel. Their page on using it has no suggestions about when to use it or when not to. One testimonial said "Thank you for giving me the power to control what pops on other people's TV while I have my kids with me - bless you! I don't want Christian dads having control of what's on my TV, nor the laundromat's, nor a restaurant. Eat at a restaurant or don't, but don't turn off sports because you don't want to watch. Others might, and the restaurant owner owns that television, and the right to turn it on or off. Patrons don't. What nonsense.

Okay, I'm trying to provide anti-TV links, but I get so frustrated with the total BULLSHIT there. I was going to link this article without comment, but the second and third paragraphs are like a huge turd in the lemonade:

"Each hour in front of the TV increased a child's chances of attention deficit disorder by 10%, their research in the Pediatrics journal showed.

"The study of 1,345 children showed three hours TV a day made children 30% more likely to have the disorder."

There is no way on earth those claims can be proven. Maybe the "ADD" kids just LIKED TV more because they needed stimulation they weren't getting from the rest of their homelives. Maybe some kids are too smart to play with the same set of blocks every day and would rather watch Barney. But here, paragraph five:
Children who were exposed to the unrealistic levels of stimulation at a young age continued to expect this in later life, leading to difficulty dealing with the slower pace of school and homework, he said.
Good for the kids!! To stupify kids to the point that school and homework seem "realistic" and fascinating is abusive in the extreme. But wait, that's the purpose of ritalin, isn't it? To take a child who has the ability to be excited and happy and active and to drug that out of him? WHY IS THAT LEGAL!? Because school is more important than children. If school once existed to benefit children, that cart ran over the horse fifty years ago.

But wait!! The article's LAST two paragraphs are this:

The researchers admitted there could be problems in the study as the parents' views may not be totally accurate.

Also it was not possible to know whether the children already had attention problems early on that attracted them to TV viewing.

Yet the editor entitled the piece "Watching TV 'is bad for children'."

Perhaps I'm incapable, for reasons of integrity, of providing an anti-TV page. Here, then. Find your own:

If you put in the words Satan TV children, you'll get millions of links. Have fun. Don't read them all in one sitting.

Here's one:
Your children, by manner of the infernal boxes in your homes, the televisions, are being now
schooled to kill, to sin. And many parents shall be murdered by their own children!

Another page on that same site says "This world is polluted with sin. Satan, the devil, is capturing young souls to take them to hell with rock music and sex. MTV is satan's way. Please don't listen. It is satanic." - Our Lady of the Roses, November 14, 1992, from the response dictated to Veronica to a teenage girl. [I didn't make up that citation. Couldn't have. They used quotation marks on exact words for something that was what a teenage girl told Veronica that a particular incarnation of the Virgin Mary said. I think it's as valid as some of the "scientific" anti-TV things you'll find, though.]

Marty was wanting to go to his friend's house, but got involved watching something Holly was watching. He saw the clock and said "I'm going to be late because of you and your EVIL TV." Neither of them knew a thing about the "evil TV" conversation, so I said "OOH! Come look!" They looked at the picture above and became very serious. We all agreed that it's a scarier image than anything we've ever seen on TV.

How about this art!

It would seem the garbage can art at the top of the page is straight theft except that the details are so different. Maybe they're both based on another older drawing that went around on paper, maybe in the early days of photocopies when so much "office humor" was exchanged that way (though these aren't humorous).

These with the gun coming out though, aren't as similar. If anyone knows any history of these or has other examples please write to me at [email protected]

This was put up on facebook in August 2012:

This one is more original, and I'm willing to credit the artist, but I don't know who it is.

A page just about the art, and similar motifs. Is there folk art even on the web?

TV Free Living: Free Yourself from the Shackles of Your Hypnotizing Square Furniture!!
Bummer than one has been changed to permission-only access, and Wayback Machine doesn't have it. I like the title, though, so I'm leaving it.

White Dot, two bits from their "about" page:

White Dot was started in 1996 by Jean Lotus as a newsletter for people who don't watch television. In the same year David Burke launched the British edition by standing on a busted TV set in front of a sign saying "Get A Life" near Westminster Abbey and reading out a letter to Prince Charles asking him not to televise his coronation.
. . . .
In 2005 White Dot helped publicise and sell the TV-B-Gone, a keyring that turns off any television. To launch this modest revolution we got volunteers in London, Brighton, Cornwall, Edinburgh and other cities to zap TV sets in cafes and pubs.

There [used to be] a dozen or more anti-TV images here:

Interesting from a propaganda viewpoint.

On Facebook (a screen), transferred with a digital camera (likely had a screen), transferred electronically here, even though it began as chalk art in New Zealand:

More unschooling commentary on the demonization of TV TV Movies Connections Strewing

Parenting Peacefully and Other thoughts on being with a child, directly, regularly