TV really is bad for you

Does TV rot your brain? Psychologists have been wrestling with that old parental refrain pretty much since the televison was invented. Most of the research so far has been inconclusive. One economist has found, however, that TV definitely rots “social capital” – one of the latest buzzwords in politics and economics that’s supposed to describe ...

607778_Television.thumbnail5.jpg
607778_Television.thumbnail5.jpg

Does TV rot your brain? Psychologists have been wrestling with that old parental refrain pretty much since the televison was invented. Most of the research so far has been inconclusive.

One economist has found, however, that TV definitely rots "social capital" - one of the latest buzzwords in politics and economics that's supposed to describe the social interaction, trust, and cohesiveness that functioning societies like the US have and war-torn societies like Sudan desperately need.

In a study of 600 remote Indonesian villages, the report finds that those villages that got better TV reception (and watched more TV) had considerably lower participation in group events, less community trust, and lower attendance in community meetings:

Does TV rot your brain? Psychologists have been wrestling with that old parental refrain pretty much since the televison was invented. Most of the research so far has been inconclusive.

One economist has found, however, that TV definitely rots “social capital” – one of the latest buzzwords in politics and economics that’s supposed to describe the social interaction, trust, and cohesiveness that functioning societies like the US have and war-torn societies like Sudan desperately need.

In a study of 600 remote Indonesian villages, the report finds that those villages that got better TV reception (and watched more TV) had considerably lower participation in group events, less community trust, and lower attendance in community meetings:

Reception of an extra channel of television is associated with a decline of about 8 percent in the total number of social groups in the village, and with the typical adult in the village attending 11 percent fewer group meetings.

The study estimates that for every hour villagers spend watching TV, they spend about 10 fewer minutes in community meetings. It may not seem like much, but multiply that across a nation of millions and you’ve lost a lot of community action.

The study also finds that lower community interaction does not translate into worse governance. A road-building project involving all the villages surveyed progressed just as smoothly and was no more corrupt in villages with good TV reception. At least this explains how America can rank among the top in the world in both TV-watching and miles of highway.

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