Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Has TV changed our children?

I was asked this question after a recent home communion.  It took me some while to answer, and so I thought it worthwhile recording here!  There are two alternatives, television reflects reality or it doesn't.  If it reflects reality then of itself it doesn't impact behaviour - if it does not reflect reality then its impact depends on the fiction that it displays.  At the time I answered this question I tended towards the first answer - that it reflects reality, but after further thought I think that the place where it really doesn't reflect reality is in the adverts.  Adverts are designed to change our behaviour - if they didn't why would so much be spent on them?

If we look at adverts again there are two effects - the intended effect, under which I would put turning us into consumers, wanting more and more stuff, wanting ever newer things; and the means that they use to persuade us.  For example I would put the greater sexualisation in adverts into the latter category - that is something that they are using - not something that they want to encourage.

The odd thing is that I suspect that most people object to those things on TV which reflect society and which the advertisers use to achieve their ends.  But to my thinking these are less likely influence people than the messages that the advertisers are trying to spread.  Perhaps it is too late and most people take the advertisers messages as real.  But the materialism that they encourage doesn't deliver - perhaps it is inevitable - if it did people would stop buying when they had enough - and perhaps that gives the game away - the advertisers tell us we can never have enough.  Davina McCall was recently quoted saying:
Asked if fame was a trial to put herself through, Davina said: "I wanted to be famous to prove I was worth something. "But the day I got my own show on MTV I cried all night because it didn't bloody validate me and I'd spent years thinking it would. "Fulfilment's an inside job. I just try to give more than is expected. That little bit extra takes you so far." http://blogs.coventrytelegraph.net/passtheremote/2010/01/big-brothers-davina-mccall-wan.html
I don't know whether this is a message that used to be known, but has been lost, or whether TV is to blame.  But it worries me far more than anything else on our screens.

1 comment:

  1. interesting.... We have recently started banning anything 'techie' (TV. PC. Wii etc) from Mon- Thurs as our kids seemed to be developing an inability to actually play by themselves! We've always been fairly strict on it, but a house extension taking over much of their usual play space, (including the garden), meant they spent 2 months watching a lot of TV. And we did notice a lot of changes in them, including my son quoting the entire cillit bang advert to me on several occasions, which would have been funny if it wasn't so appalling... even now in the supermarket, he tells me I should buy Cillit Bang. (frankly, I can't think of anything worse..)



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