Since its inception, television seems to have been a convenient scapegoat for a variety of problems from teen violence to the disintegration of the family, but is it a valid accusation?
I am a very non-violent person most of the time. I have my moments but, while they are certainly explosive, they are few and far between.
Although I watched the Three Stooges I never felt the need to bang someone on the head with a hammer or poke them in the eye. I spent most Saturday mornings watching the roadrunner stick it to the coyote but I can honestly say that not once in my life have I ever caused anyone to fall off a cliff.
In my teenage years I watched M.A.S.H. without ever feeling the need to build a still and create gin or vodka or whatever it was that Hawkeye drank. You get my drift.
WeÂ didn’tÂ do those things because we knew it was entertainment. ItÂ wasn’tÂ real and itÂ wasn’tÂ meant to be emulated. Most importantly, it wasn’t worth the trouble you got into if you did.
Maybe I am way off base, or maybe my family is just more self-disciplined but I donâ€™t see the foibles of the small screen encroaching on our values. Even though PBS has removed Cookie Monster from its lineup of characters people still eat cookies â€“ and they ate cookies long before the fuzzy blue guy existed.
I donâ€™t think teenagers learn violence from the current popular video game â€“ I think they learn that they can get away with it because they have never been required to reap the consequences of their actions.
Too much TV is not a good idea â€“ nothing in excess is. However,Â shouldn’tÂ we begin to be adults and take responsibility for the choices we make? Just as importantly,Â shouldn’tÂ we teach our kids to do the same?
photo credit: Paul Townsend