As we age or experience hardships, we seek comfort and relaxation. Since the 1940s, many Americans consider watching television to be cathartic. By 1950 American households were watching over 4 hours of television a day. Many described the television with fear and aversion, all the while it becomes the staple piece of furniture in most homes worldwide. Couches and seating areas no longer surround the fireplace; the television is now in the spotlight.
Quippy lines plagued television and film, such as “TV rots your brain,” declared Mrs. Sturak in the 1991 film Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. It turns out, Mrs. Sturak was half right. Television use does influence the brain. Studies show that early television exposure to children causes many issues, including “obesity, inactivity, attentional problems, aggression, and sleep patterns.” New findings make it clear TV viewing affects more than just adolescents. Adults are similarly affected. The television should not be considered the enemy. It is a tool and what matters is how we use it effectively. In following channels we will produce data visuals to assist the aging US population to make informed choices about their television viewing habits.