Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Ecology of Media

A specific technology that I personally enjoy is the television.

Oh, how I absolutely love the places it takes me! Almost every night before I go to sleep the television in my bedroom takes me to New York City to meet with my friends Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda. Every morning the television in my kitchen takes me all around the globe, lately to Washington, accompanied by my friends at City News at six AM. Once or twice a week, the television in my family room takes me to wherever I order it to, using Rogers Cable.
Quite obviously, I get good use of the televisions in my home.
As a child of the 90s I have never felt that the television has occupied too much of my time. I watch it more frequently now that I am older and more interested in the news; but even so, I enjoy my television with moderation. I am not a "couch potato" and would find it extremely difficult to sit in front of the TV for hours at a time.

When I was younger, it was nearly impossible to get me to watch TV, unless my ultimate favourite shows were on (Full House, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, etc.) I would have rather been playing "house", dancing, painting or taking good care of my dolls. My imagination was extremely large and wild when I was little. At a young age of twelve, I had dozens and dozens of stories written that would just form in my head. I was instructed to write them out and hang on to them. To this day, I look back in awe at how articulate and detailed I was. My point being: I do not feel that the impact of television had a negative effect on me as a child.

As the new millennium approached, research and statistics proved that childhood obesity was on a steady rise. What was to blame besides Philo Farnsworth's television?

I truly do believe that television has taken over children's lives nowadays and that the role it plays is far too great. Children stare mindlessly at the TV for hours on end, memorized by the bright colours and interesting sounds. I found one of Neil Postman's quotes in his keynote speech, The Humanism of Media Ecology, very disturbing. He says, "I think some of you know that among the severely negative consequences of television - at least as I see them - is its role in making the institution of childhood obsolete. I would call that a moral decline. Of course, there are some people, especially merchants, who think that the disappearance of childhood is a good idea. But even those, like me, who think it is a catastrophe have to keep in mind that 100 years from now, it may not seem so. In fact, people might believe that the idea of childhood was no great advantage, at any time, either to the young or to the old, and the sooner television wrecked it the better." This seems terrifying to me. Life without childhood? This thought is seriously disturbing and unimaginable.

How could we be willing to give up childhood for the price of a television? As I grow older and life becomes more hectic and demanding, I often find myself looking back to the simple times when I could run around my backyard through the sprinkler or build forts in the basement.

The impact of television has not seemed very catastrophic in the last 81 years but perhaps its impact was not strong enough beforehand. Nowadays, televisions are in every room of the house and on almost all of the time leaving children gazing at them habitually.

Television has made and continues to make a strong cultural impact all across the globe. Almost anyone can afford to buy one with the prices greatly declining. Heck, even children can afford to purchase a television! The price? Their youth.

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