Older vs. Younger: The Battle of TV Consumption

By Caitlyn Graves

I’m sure we’ve all heard it at some point in our lives, “Watching too much TV is bad for you!” There are television shows and programs appeal to almost everyone, so it makes sense as to why children are being reprimanded by their parents for getting sucked into the small screen. But what if the millennials aren’t the culprits of enjoying too much TV?

The Bad Side of TV

Growing up, I always heard that television turns your brain “into mush” from my parents when they were true to get me to do something other than watch Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. While I have not found the medical equivalent to your brain becoming mushy, too much television can definitely harm your health. People who watch 5+ hours of television a day are “twice as likely to suffer a deadly blood clot” in the lungs, also known as pulmonary embolisms. This fatal occurrence is three times more likely to appear if you’re between the ages of 40 and 59.

Not only can tof much television be fatal, it can affect your body in different ways as well. Watching TV promotes a sedentary lifestyle, and can contribute to weight gain, inability to sleep and can damage our relationships. It isolates us from social interactions and can give us “unrealistic expectations” in romantic relationships. Television even has the power to hinder a man’s ability to have children. According to a Harvard study, “men who watched more than 20 hours of television per week had 44% fewer sperm count” than their counterparts who did not watch TV. TV also contributes to “decreased language development” if a child is exposed to it routinely before the age of 2.

Who Watches More?

Young people seem to get a bad reputation for everything, but in this case, we are the ones actually turning off the television set more often than on older counterparts. Adults aged from 16–24 consume 3 hours and 54 minutes of media on average per day. Only 36% of this group watches live television. This is compared to the 55% of adults ages 35–44 who watch live television and the even more impressive 83% of adults 65+ who watch it.

These numbers are partially contributed to the TV culture that individuals between the ages of 55+ experienced growing up with the boom in television during the Golden Age in the late 1950’s and 1960’s. It is also contributed to the increased amount of online streaming services, like Netflix and Hulu, that are available that the younger generation takes advantage of.

With the known risks of consuming too much television becoming more advertised and discussed, one should think twice about sitting down to watch hours of TV. Though I know the program or show may be addicting to watch, it is not worth compromising your health, especially not for older adults with increased risks. Instead of yelling at a young person to turn off the TV, maybe you should make sure that you have yours off first.