Junky TV is actually making people dumber — and more likely to supp...

How often do you watch shallow "fun entertainment" TV, like salacious shows and sports? [I watch at least 3 hours/day] Shallow entertainment doesn't make us more conservative directly, it seems. TV lacking educational value leads kids to develop into less civically engaged adults. It increases seniors’ vulnerability to ideologically right-wing populists. Years of watching shows with “accessible” (i.e. simple) language apparently increases the appeal of “accessible language” politicians, i.e. rich guys shouting insults and lies.

A raft of new research shows that watching junky cable and other lowbrow TV is actually making people dumber — literally lowering their IQs.

[In Italy]... children were “less cognitively sophisticated and civic-minded as adults, ...

“Less civically minded voters may be more vulnerable to populistic rhetoric.”

"For the elderly, the effect was happening through habit formation. They were hooked by the ... — the salacious shows and sports."

[In Norway] They estimate that 10 years of exposure to cable television lowered I.Q. scores by 1.8 points. In related research, ... exposure to cable television reduced voter turnout in local elections.

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I intended to make the 4th paragraph an indictment on parents, not providing a model of sustained work and the benefits that accrue from those efforts. 

Joan, I too sometimes fail to say what I intend.

I find it important, after I’ve written something, to pause perhaps for hours and read again what I wrote.

In my view one exception to the expectations you describe for the younger US generation is young immigrants who are not from wealthy families. They can work hard contributing to the whole family's income.

Oh! I agree, Ruth. Children of immigrants expect to work hard and contribute to the family income. I suspect the immigrant parents spend their time after paid-work improving their family's living standards. 

The purpose of TV and movie programs is money, ratings, and distraction. Nothing more. This allows many of us to falsely think we are living in a world of an earlier time or even some other reality. 

Entertainment TV never mentions the climate crisis. Any social consciousness raising seems limited to past challenges, like police corruption in long past decades or the feminism of the 1930's to 1950's. That's my impression.

The purpose of TV and movies are to make money and entertainment can accomplish that goal. Informing people about events taking place at the macro level may provide adrenaline rushes for those who like excitement, however, information about climate change has a far more important role to play. People living and working on ocean coastlines need the information to make decisions about the safety of their location or to think about options open to them.

For those who do not plan, the oceans rise and the unaware people may expect to be bailed out by those on dry land or for insurance to pay for their failure to heed warnings. I have no pity for such carelessness. 

The migration of millions of people to the higher ground puts stress on existing infrastructures. Feeling helpless and anxious produces emotional depression. Being out of control and afraid of "invasion" sparks irrational responses. The most insidious reaction is to blame others for the changes in stress. 

At such times as these, we need people who can think, reason, plan, create ideas, explore options formerly not considered. We need people who know how to communicate, who can solve problems and resolve conflicts. 

"Constructive Conflict Initiative*

"A call for a dramatic expansion of efforts to improve society's ability to constructively address the full scale and complexity of the challenges posed by destructive conflicts."

~ Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess

Thank you for introducing me to the Constructive Conflict Initiative. "... it's clear to us that we need an initiative which is comparable in scope to the climate-change movement. "

When I have time I'll explore the four Conflict Frontiers.




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