Since coming to Japan, the amount of time I spend in front of the television has plummeted. I think it’s fair to say that I watch less than two hours of TV a week now. Some of you will find that hard to imagine, but it’s not surprising when everything on TV is in a foreign language.
The internet as an alternative to TV
These days I get my entertainment fix from the internet, and keep informed about the world via the web, too, but there’s a big difference between TV and the internet. For starters, you can choose what to read, and what to believe. Television doesn’t give you that choice, imposing its own version of the news on you.
That means the internet gives you a more well-rounded view of the world, drawn from multiple sources. Also, actively reading a news article on the web gives you a better understanding of the topic than passively digesting information from TV. Of course, you also have the power to research the topic further on the net.
Does TV have a negative effect on IQ?
I managed to track down two charts, one listing countries by TV viewing times, and the other by estimated IQ, and while there’s no perfect correlation to show TV makes you stupid, the results are still interesting.
The U.S leads the way, with TV addiction consuming over 8 hours a day of the average American’s life. Turkey comes next with 5 hours, and those wacky game shows encourage the Japanese to watch close to 4 hours of TV a day.
As for IQ…
South Koreans, who watch just a little over 3 hours of TV a day, are second only to the geniuses of Hong Kong. Japan, a country whose citizens watch half as much TV as Americans, are ranked as the third most intelligent nation. Our friends, the drooling couch potatoes from the U.S., rank a lowly 23rd.
This argument holds no water!
I’m plucking at straws here trying to make a case that television fries your brain, and my argument falls apart when you consider Ireland. The Irish watch just two and a half hours of TV a day, but are only the 36th most intelligent country in the world! All I can assume is that the free time gained from watching less TV is obviously wasted at the pub, rather than swatting up on world issues on the internet.
I am stunned that the average American watches over 8 hours of TV a day. No wonder they are so fat! It makes me wonder how many hours of commercials they are exposed to everyday…. wow…