Essay on Karen Springen’s “Why We Tuned Out”

Introduction

In today’s world, television is almost invariably a part of our lives and trying to keep away from this prominent force is for many people an uphill task. The article “Why We Tuned Out” by Karen Springen as appearing in the NewsWeek on November 11, 2002 attempts to illustrate that shielding one’s children from television is not only possible but comes along with numerous benefits. The main point advanced by Springen is that shielding children from television results in the children being more physically and mentally active.

The author also contends that the children do not risk turning into misfits as a result of abstinence from television programs. I agree with these assertions by the author that television watching is detrimental to the development of children and limiting the same will result in creative and physically active children.

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Discussion

In her article, Springen credits the lack of television watching for her daughters’ inquisitive and energetic nature. She goes on to illustrate that according to research, “kids who watch more than 10 hours of TV each week are more likely to be overweight, aggressive and slow to learn in school.”

From these research findings, Springen justifies her imposition of a no television rule to her daughters so as to prevent them from assimilating these negative behaviors which are attributed to exposure to television. Despite these convictions, the author goes on to note that a complete restriction on television watching may result in her children missing out on good educational programming.

However, the author proceeds to note that most children who watch television do not engage in the “educational programming” but rather favor cartoons, adventure stories and other programming which has little educational value if any.

As such, Springen affirms that missing out on television all together is better than gambling on the very limited likelihood that children will watch something educational on TV.

The second issue that Springen tackles is the alleged likelihood of her children turning into social outcasts as a result of her “puritanical approach” with regards to television. This is a fear that is accentuated by one psychiatrist who quips that “it’s awful to be different from the other kids in fourth grade.”

Springen dispels of this fears by pointing out that her children continue to enjoy products based on TV characters despite their not watching television since there exist other avenues such as books and magazines through which the children can be informed of popular culture.

The author also highlights the fact that her children do not mention missing out on any of the popular programming even though they do interact with other children at school who undoubtedly mention the shows. As such, it is plausible that Springen’s children are not at a risk of turning into outcasts due to her restriction on their television watching habits. The author goes on to suggest that she may be forced to let them watch some shows which have a special meaning to the children.

Conclusion

Television is a very powerful thing and an overexposure to it by children may be disastrous. This paper set out to discuss the major points advanced by Karen Springen’s, a proponent of no television for children, in her article “Why We Tuned Out”.

The discussions presented reveal that the physical and mental well being of children may be directly related to their television viewing with excessive viewing being detrimental. From the facts illustrated in this essay, it is evident that tuning out of television may be beneficial to the development of children.

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