If people could pull away from the TV set long enough to read this, they might find it interesting. Hell, if people would just read more in general, the world might be a better place. Americans have reached a new milestone this week, according to Nielsen Media Research. It has nothing to do with being the smartest country in the world. In fact it may have something to do with being the dumbest. According to a new study, there are more TVs in American household than people, in general.
Looking at the numbers, this might be hard to believe. According to Nielsen, the average American household has 2.73 TV sets. I don't think this takes into account the uses of computers and cell phones to watch live TV. However, this number is still more than the average number of people in an American household, 2.55. The study went on to say that only 19% of Americans own a one TV. Over half the homes in America have three or more TVs. IN just the past 25 years, these two statistics have flip-flopped. In 1975, the households with a single TV was 57% as opposed to 11% with three or more.
Our American society is becoming more media-driven. It seems we are in constant need (or think we are) of a source of entertainment. We are bombarded with 24 hour news channels and shows that have more commercials than storyline. And as Americans, we just eat it up. We love our TVs. We love them almost as much as out SUVs. There are a couple of reason why.
First, TVs don't need gasoline to function. But what people don't realize is that the electricity in their homes is produced by burning fossil fuels (just like your car). Watching more TV and having more TVs adds to the global warming problem.
The second reason we like TV so much is because of the addictive nature of TV. Humans are naturally curious creatures and by leaving us hanging between commercials, we stay tuned in. Also, by having more than one set in the house, we don't have to worry about missing something when we go to the bathroom or get a beer out of the fridge.
The sad thing about all of this, is that more TVs leads to less learning. While I agree that the TV can be used as a teaching tool, it is most often not. As a society, we are more apt to watch some stupid reality TV show than a documentary on the War of 1812. Therefore, we don't learn anything except who got voted off the island. And that's not really useful knowledge. It's ok to have TVs, just don't use them all at the same time or as often as we like to. Use your TV to teach. I think Ed Murrow was right when he said, "This instrument can teach. It can illuminate and, yes, it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it towards those ends. "