6. TV affects my vocabulary.
I haven’t started saying all the things I’ve heard on television, but I’m far less shocked when I hear them. And I wonder, how long will it be until I start saying the words I hear? For instance, in the last decade, I have noticed a significant increase in the use of God’s name in a casual way by Christians. I wonder if this is somehow connected with the frequent use of God’s name on TV. I remember when I first heard this, how I reacted. It was clear to me that this was a violation of God’s third commandment. In fact it is the clearest violation of that commandment you can imagine. Using God’s name in a casual way. Now God’s name is finding it’s way into the language of Christians. How long will it be before I allow myself to say “My Lord,” or “Oh God,” or “For God’s sake”?
But it’s not just God’s name. Television constantly tries to adjust all of my vocabulary. I hear it every day. TV is constantly correcting, constantly teaching, constantly “discipling” me. It tries to teach me to say “partner” instead of “wife.” It wants me to say “in a relationship” instead of “married,” and “gay” instead of “homosexual.” It is so effective at teaching me what is right and wrong in speech, that gradually the vocabulary of the world seems “politically correct.” But, along with this new vocabulary come the world’s values. I don’t like what the TV does to my vocabulary. And what this new vocabulary does to my values. Why don’t I just unplug it?
7. TV constantly models put-down humor.
It’s most evident in shows like The Simpsons, Rosanne, and Married…With Children. But it’s everywhere else as well. The relational modeling of TV is to deride others and criticize and put down loved ones. All this is done for the sake of humor. And it works. It is humorous. No wonder these same kinds of critical put-downs show up at home, in schools and at church. TV is a bad model for interpersonal relationships. It makes it easier for me to use put-down humor. I ought to just unplug it, I suppose.
Pr 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
Jas 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
Jas 3:5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
8. TV promotes the sin of materialism.
Why would advertisers spend millions of dollars if their advertisements did not cause me to want things? TV engenders coveting, materialism and idolatry—finding joy in things. How much has this “materialistic pornography” influenced me already? What has it already persuaded me to find happiness in—besides God? What has the TV taught me to want? To want so badly that I consider it a need? I should simply unplug it, shouldn’t I?
Heb 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
9. TV is a social evil.
It’s like alcohol, or tobacco, or gambling. The net result is socially negative. TV executives argue that there is no connection whatsoever between violence on television and crime in the streets, or between TV’s sexual titillation and the behavior of the individuals watching these programs. Yet, the same TV executives will collect a million dollars for a 30-second advertisement during the Super Bowl. How do they collect money for these advertisements? Who pays for them? Why would advertisers pay such sums if the medium has no affect whatsoever on behavior? C’mon. Quit kidding us! TV does change the way we act. The average child sees 8000 killings on TV by the eighth grade. Is this in no way connected with the fact that violent crime is up 560% over the last 30 years? So, even if the TV had absolutely no affect on me personally, I ought to unplug it—simply as a social protest or boycott against the evil it promotes in society.
Over the years, there have been literally hundreds of studies examining the connection between media violence and violence in real-life, the results of which were summarized in a joint statement signed by representatives from six of the nation’s top public health organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, and the American Medical Association: “Well over 1000 studies… point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children. The conclusion of the public health community, based on over 30 years of research, is that viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values and behavior, particularly in children.” 1
Mt 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
10. TV depresses educational achievement.
The studies are decisive. The more TV that children watch, the less studying they do, the later they will stay up at night, and the more tired they will be the next day at school. The more TV that students watch, the lower they score on achievement tests. Besides these proven facts, TV works against reading and discussion, two primary ways people learn. But what if I’m an empty-nester and all the kids are gone? What does it do to my educational achievement? Does it inspire me to read more? Discuss things more? Does it define the really deep issues? What issues does television raise which will be around in 100 years? Even ten years? I’m afraid TV even depresses my own learning, not just the children’s learning. If I had the guts, I’d just unplug it.
The more time children spend watching television the poorer they perform academically, according to three studies published on Monday. 2
To Be Continued: