New Internationalist 326 August 2000
Television is dominated by three worldwide mega-corporations:
Time Warner; News Corporation/Fox Networks; Disney.
In the US 98 per cent of households have at least one television (although Taiwan tops the bill with 99.4 per cent and Mexico manufactures more sets than any other country).3 A recent study showed that six out of ten British and New Zealand citizens watch TV for more than two hours a day. This puts them at the top of the list. The US and Canada weigh in at four out of ten. The study also concluded that there was a link between watching a lot of TV and low levels of literacy.4
KIDS AND THE TUBE3
There have been lots of debates about whether TV-watching is bad for kids . Here are a few facts from the US:
. Average number of hours per week that American youth aged 12-17 watch television: 20 hours, 20 minutes.
. Hours of TV watching per week shown to have a negative effect on academic achievement: 10 or more.
. Estimated number of TV commercials seen by American children before graduating from high school: 360,000.
. Number of violent acts the average American child sees on TV by the age of 18: 200,000.
Health: Most mains-powered electrical devices are a source of radiation from electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Concerns have been raised about EMFs causing cancers and leukaemia, and affecting the brain, the immune system and the central nervous system.
. Sit at least two metres from the screen as EMFs drop off with distance.
. Be aware that the back of TVs can give off high EMFs.
. TVs give off radiation even when switched off so when not in use switch off at the mains, especially in the bedroom.
. Always buy second-hand or recycled TVs and videos where possible.
. If yours is broken get it repaired rather than buying a new one.
. If you are getting rid of your old TV check about recycling it (25 million sets are dumped every year in the UK alone).
. To save power, switch off the TV when you are not watching instead of using standby (TVs in standby mode waste millions of dollars of electricity every year).
. To save resources use smaller sets and LCD screens.
. Every year 22 April is TV Turnoff day.
Contact: Adbusters on www.adbusters.org and turn it off!
1 Human Development Report 1999 (UNDP)
2 World Development Report (1998/99)
3 AC Nielsen (1998) from Adbusters website: www.adbusters.org
4 Literacy in the Age of Information, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Paris 2000
5 Ethical Consumer.