The song “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is about a couple who are struggling to stay together. In hope of salvaging their relationship, the boy reminds his girlfriend that regardless of their differences, they still both kind of liked the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, so at least that’s something.
My wife and I have many things in common. More than most couples, I dare presume. But if our interests, preferences, predilections and political affiliations suddenly shifted away from each other someday, I’d like to think we would still share a complete and total hatred for background TV, and at least that would be something.
There has never been a single moment in our home when the television was on without someone watching.
Not once. Ever.
We find background TV distracting, mind-numbing, wasteful and inane. We cannot understand it and refuse to abide by it. There have been times when we have purposely avoided visiting the homes of friends who have televisions on in the background throughout the day.
I bring this up because TIME magazine recently reported on the prevalence of background TV in American homes and its apparent detrimental effect on children.
Even if we aren’t actively watching TV, most of us leave the set on in the background. But that may have detrimental effects on children in the home, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.that this week
This was the opening paragraph of the TIME story, which goes on to explain that the average American child is exposed to four hours of background television a day, and the impact from this exposure is not good. While further research is required to confirm the results of the study, the data seems to suggest that children exposed to background television experience higher rates of obesity and have greater difficulties with executive functioning and self-regulation.
None of this is good, but it did not surprise me. Did anyone actually believe that allowing a box to blather away throughout the day, unmonitored and unregulated, would be good for kids?
What surprised me the most about the TIME piece was the first sentence:
Even if we aren’t actively watching TV, most of us leave the set on in the background.
Is that true?
My wife and I watch very little television to begin with, and we also watch TV almost exclusively at night, after the children have gone to sleep, so perhaps our opportunities for background television was severely reduced already. But do most Americans leave the television on in the background when not actively watching it?
I find this hard to believe.
Then again, the average American child is exposed to four hour of background television a day, which is more television than I actively watch in a single day. So maybe it’s true. Maybe everyone leaves their televisions on in the background.
If so, what the hell is wrong with you people?
More important, I guess I was right. If Elysha and my interests truly do diverge in some cataclysmic way someday, our continued hatred for background television might serve as our Breakfast at Tiffany’s. With so many people leaving their televisions on throughout the day, we are apparently in the extreme minority.
We’ll have no choice but to stay together or suffer the apparent stupidity of the masses.