Screen Addiction

- Cure those couch potatoes Do you ever feel like you would be lost without your television, like the world would not matter if your television set did not exist?
TV watching has substituted social family interaction.
TV watching has substituted social family interaction.

- Cure those couch potatoes

Do you ever feel like you would be lost without your television, like the world would not matter if your television set did not exist?

You wonder all day what will happen next in your favorite show. You don’t make plans that will conflict with any of your favourite shows.

You just might be a TV addict a problem that has plagued many people in today’s society. According to wikipedia dictionary TV addiction is a disorder where the subject has a compulsion to watch television.

The compulsion can be extremely difficult to control in many cases. It has many parallels to other forms of addiction, such as addiction to drugs or gambling, which create an altered mental state in the subject. The addiction runs deeper than mere TV enjoyment.

Since its inception Star Media Africa a cable television provider is reported to have over seven thousand subscribers and the number is still growing especially since GTV rolled out of the market.

The number of households that own a set keeps growing as TV culture continues to grip our society. People spend almost all their leisure time watching television.

TV addiction is more real than we ever care to admit though it’s not as obvious as many other addictions it doesn’t mean it is not hazardous.

The question is, “Are these people addicted to the television?”

Personal accounts

Paul Murenzi a 32-year-old a high school teacher recently subscribed to DSTV. Although he is married with two children and has a full-time job, he manages to watch 30 hours of television a week.

He says, “I rarely go out anymore, instead I am glued to the screen every night, I often buy movies on DVD my current favorite show is Prison Break.”

Teresa Mugabe a 29-year-old business woman and mother of three reports watching television 35 hours a week.

She says, “Television can easily become like a companion if you’re not careful, after my divorce I turned to TV for companionship and to ease and forget the pain I was feeling. I forget all my problems when I am watching TV shows and sometime pretend to be living the life of these actors; it feels better than my life right now.”

Frank Mutabazi is a retired bank manager; his children are all grown up and live in Belgium. He says that he watches 90 hours of television a week.

He says, “I’m home almost every day and my TV is my way of enjoying my day. My family is away and I have no one to spend my time talking to, my TV is my only source of entertainment, it is almost my life.”

The fact is television can educate and entertain, and it also provides needed distraction. Yet, the difficulty arises when one strongly senses the need to stop viewing as much, and yet find they are unable to reduce viewing. This is when the addiction comes in once you cannot control how long you spend watching television.

Tom Mbaraga, a lay counselor in a local university, says “Television addiction is a result of behavioral transfer, children as young as six months have a capability of learning such addictive behaviour from their parents. If the parents spend a lot of time watching TV it is likely that the child will be conditioned to TV addiction. I have seen eight month-old babies who cannot sleep unless the television is on. These children will most likely end up television addicts.”

In such a case the person actually disengages from real life becoming immersed in what is being shown on the screen which, in turn, causes excessive viewing; more so than anticipated in the beginning.

However even if you watch TV very few hours you can become dependent on it either for relaxation, for companionship, or just to avoid boredom, so say broadcast researchers. This dependence puts your health at risk.

It increases your chances for weight gain, reduces your problem-solving ability, and reduces your chances of making personal relationships.

Many people are caught up in the TV world in terms of how they speak, dress and live their lives and this discourages creativity and individuality.

The line between normal TV watching TV addiction is a very thin one we all need to be careful not to cross. There is nothing wrong with watching TV but we must be careful to avoid making it our life.

Our children follow and mimic what we do and hence once you become a TV addict they too will be addicts. This affects their mental capacity and deprives them a chance to participate in outdoor activities which is crucial for their development.

Contact: pgathoni@gmail.com

 

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