Is Watching TV Good or Bad for You?

Updated on December 27, 2017
cclitgirl profile image

Cynthia is a writer, artist, and teacher. She loves studying language, arts, and culture, and sharing that knowledge.


How Many Hours of TV Do You Watch In a Day? (Be Honest)

See results

A couple weeks ago, I asked the question, "Does TV dull the mind?" I was surprised at all the answers I received as well as the number of people who don't think it dulls the mind. I thought for sure I'd get more "of course" responses.

I wanted to delve into this topic because I often have this discussion with my significant other. We went for a year without TV at all (and just rented movies and documentaries).

We had just moved into our new house in the country and we couldn't even get a landline to the house. We have no reception for any channels - at all - without cable or satellite. We just live too far out in the mountains where antenna signals don't reach.

Finally, we were able to get satellite TV after calling cable companies, and getting a very large, very unsightly antenna that did not work.

For three years we had satellite. Then, after having many discussions with friends and family, we decided to go without satellite for six months and see if we could do without television (and go back to renting online DVDs). We had several reasons for doing so.

Save Money: No Satellite

The first reason was to save money. We looked at our monthly bill and multiplied it by 12. What we pay for satellite entertainment alone is around $750 per year. That's a lot, especially given the fact that we don't watch TV that much.

The second reason was that we felt like we would have more time to do other things. In theory that was the case, but what often happened is that we would read and fall asleep earlier.

The third reason was to shut out some of the chaos from modern daily life. The house certainly got quiet. I love the quiet. Sometimes, though, the quiet was too quiet. I'd often hop online and put on some music to break up the silence. I'd listen for awhile and then turn everything off to enjoy the silence again.

The reception from radio stations wasn't always reliable. We felt that TV was really a tool to help us know what was going on locally and globally. Furthermore, like many people who answered in the questions, I like the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, History, and The Learning Channel. I wanted my educational shows back. Furthermore, the only internet service that actually works where we live doesn't allow you to download entire movies, unless you want to pay mega-bucks.

One evening, my poor husband looked at me and said, "Next on TV folks, is the girl typing incessantly at her computer." He looked back down at his book and fell asleep within minutes.

I felt bad: I was hogging the computer and the only thing he could do was read books. Eek. Somewhat ironic, too.

It was an experiment of sorts. But in the end, though, we decided to get satellite back. Waiting for online DVDs to arrive in the mail sometimes left us sitting in silence and other times we would need to hear news reports of school closings due to weather and the like.

So, TV Has Its Positives?

Yes, we decided to go back to our satellite service after a six-month hiatus. We needed information that we couldn't get from the internet. Plus, while it's always nice to have music on in the background while making dinner, I admit an episode of Seinfeld on in the background is always a mood-lifter.

Furthermore, the local news does provide local weather forecasts, traffic reports and useful information about school closures. I headed out to school twice when we didn't have TV only to arrive and find it closed.

Still, around 9 pm when you're too tired from working, making dinner, and cleaning up, you don't quite want to go to bed and you don't exactly want to delve elbow-deep into your hobby. It's nice to turn on the TV for 30 minutes to an hour. That's not too bad, is it?

Though we have satellite TV, we acknowledge some real reservations about television.

There are always the questions:

  • Does TV make you think less?
  • Does it contribute to ADHD?
  • Because there's so much violence, does TV contribute to societal violence?
  • Does it contribute to stress?

Do You Think TV is Violent?

See results

TV Definitely Has Some Negatives

I am no scientist, but if I were to go by my observations, here are some of the negative aspects about television:

Apparently, the average American adolescent watches 22 - 28 hours of TV weekly. If they continue those habits into adulthood, that amounts to 7-10 years they've spent watching TV by the time they reach age 70 according to Turn off Your TV. That is a serious amount of time sitting in front of the tube.

It can make you feel bad about yourself. You watch TV and in the programs, everyone has nice clothes, nice cars, nice jobs, nice houses, nice furniture, and even perfect food. Then you end up watching ads about the same stuff. You feel bad that you don't have it, so you work harder to buy more. Then you watch more TV and the cycle begins again. I'm here to tell you, I personally try my hardest to not participate in that cycle of thinking.

It's hypnotic. You stare and you forget about the world around you. It's almost like a drug because you can tune out the world and tune in to the program you're watching. That can be good if you do need to zone out, but every single day? Really?

I believe it contributes to ADHD. Like I said, I'm no scientist, but I grew up getting muddy and playing outside. My mother never let me watch too much TV. I read and traveled and studied. Now, I'm a teacher and I ask my students, "what do you do when you get home?" The answer is almost always "watch TV". A lot of these same students have ADHD and even tend to be heavy - because they're sitting and not getting the exercise they need (there are a lot of other things going on here that contribute, too, but that's beyond the scope of this hub). Maybe there's an absolute connection; maybe not. But, I can say that I'm pretty sure TV-watching and ADHD and even weight gain are related.

It's violent. I think it contributes to a culture of fear. You may recall every summer the news talks about shark attacks. Out of the millions of people who frequent hundreds of thousands of miles of coastlines around the world, you are going to have one or two people venture off and get some shark mad enough for them to attack. But, how many millions of people won't swim in the ocean because they fear a shark attack? How many people know that you have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than by getting attacked by a shark?

The violence rubs off in society in general. Don't take my word for it. Look at Vision of Humanity and see where the US ranks on the Peace Index. It's not good. I remember traveling to Spain a few years ago. Never once was I scared to walk the streets of downtown Madrid (population 5 million-ish) at two a.m. in the morning. Sure, there were pickpockets, but I wasn't ever scared that someone would come after me with a knife or any other weapon. But in the States, even in a small city, I would never do that.

Final Thoughts

If TV is used judiciously, it can be a great tool to finding out useful news and information. Inspiring movies and hearing about things like the peaceful revolution in Egypt to overturn their leader are great uses for TV programming.

However, when it's used to "fill in" time, entertain children for hour after hour, without any reflective thought, I believe it can be a dangerous tool that contributes to degradation of morals and an increase in violence among other things.

Furthermore, I know from my own experience that I simply cannot start my day with news. If the first thing I see when I get up are stories about robberies or homicides, I can tell you, I go about my day more stressed than if I start out with some meditation.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2012 Cynthia Calhoun


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Joe Billy Bob 

      7 years ago

      It dependes on what show u r watching.

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      Well said, Jlboogades. I echo your sentiments wholeheartedly. It even happens online. I do a lot of blogging and I find that sometimes it's hard to swallow the idea that people have so many things and they talk about all the stuff they have...and yes, it leads to the "consumer envy" - very cogent thoughts. Thank you. :)

    • jlboogades profile image

      Justin Boogades 

      7 years ago from Lynchburg, VA

      Hello "CC" (hope that's ok),

      I definitely agree with your sentiments and I have researched many studies that agree with the correlations between excessive television watching and stress, lack of concentration, violent and fearful behavior, and of course "consumer envy". One of the few areas of what I am studying in school actually pays well: Consumer Psychology.

      It's sad that capitalism has come to that but as the last comment suggests, there is always more than one side to everything. It seems evident that television is no exception to the old adage: Everything in moderation. And I agree that using it properly is wise for those who would discern the needs of their own psychological and mental health.

      What saddens me is that many people do not realize that they are being manipulated by an enormous system of consumption 'based' information that is infiltrating their society, homes, and even their children to be a good consumer and buy things that Larry the Cable Guy admits "we didn't even know we wanted" (don't need is more like it). I guess that is what places like this are for, "Viva la resistance".

    • profile image

      tariq umeed 

      7 years ago

      there is no denying the fact that every things got two sides positive and negative. Likewise if we use tv in positive way so it can give us lot of imformation about anything............

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      8 years ago from Western NC

      Girishpuri - indeed, balance is a must with regard to TV, especially when you get enrichment from it. I like the Discovery Channel, too, as well as National Geographic and the Science Channel. Hehe, I'm sort of a geek like that. :)

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 

      8 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      positive, negative are two different sides of coin, only a bit of balance is must, TV is good and i believe pluses are more if you watch channels like discovery. nice hub

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      8 years ago from Western NC

      Alex - hey there! Thanks for coming by. Sorry about the "long" approval - I didn't realize your comment went into my "spam" comments for some reason. You are very correct. Thanks for coming by again. :)

    • Alex Jose profile image

      Alex Jose 

      8 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      Really watching TV is good in some way, it can even turn bad specially for the youngsters i believe. Basically if you do not keep an eye on them or so. Well very interesting hub and so voted up as useful.

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      8 years ago from Western NC

      mottiandbander - yes, I like a good TV show now and then. :) Thanks for stopping by.

    • mottiandbander profile image


      8 years ago from Chd

      I have a sansui television and i love all the shows. Specially the discovery shows...

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      8 years ago from Western NC

      I agree, Vinaya. Now, the question is...what constitutes a good thing? Hehehe. Thanks for stopping by. :)

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      8 years ago from Nepal

      Television watching is good as long as we watch good things. Your views are very interesting.

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      8 years ago from Western NC

      Yes, I have mine, too. No, I couldn't give it up totally. I suppose if I wanted to be a monk, then I might, but as an average citizen, well, I think I'll do better to have one. Thanks for stopping by, alocsin. :)

    • cclitgirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      8 years ago from Western NC

      Thanks, Alecia. Yeah, I have a sort of love/hate relationship with my television. Hehe. I always feel guilty if I spend too much time watching. Thanks so much for stopping by, Alecia. :)

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      8 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Like anything, TV can be a positive or negative thing. But I think the former outweighs the latter, so I still have it in the house. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      8 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I agree with your assessment about television. It's not pure evil but it doesn't always bring out the best in people. To me, I can watch TV and not know what's going on. A lot of times, it is background noise for when I write or do something else. However, it doesn't help build a healthy non-sedentary lifestyle either. However, whatever someone does in front of and alongside their television is their business, not mine. Great, insightful hub!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)