Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by
people you would not have in your home.
Television may be responsible for doubling our crime rate in the United States,
suggests Brandon Centerwall, psychiatrist at the University of Washington, in a recent
study reported in the June 1992 Journal of the American Medical Association.
Centerwall analyzed crime statistics both before and after TV was introduced in several
communities. Those comparisons cause him to conclude that prolonged exposure to violence
on TV has increased the number of murders in the U.S. by 10,000 each year. He sees TV as a
"causal factor" in about 70,000 rapes and 700,000 injurious assaults annually.
Michael Medved, Hollywood vs. America. (Harper
Collins/Zondervan, 1992), quoted in Leadership, Summer 1993,
"A Florida State University study reported that a typical prime-time hour (of television) contains an average of 1.6
references to intercourse, 1.2 references to prostitution and rape, 4.7 sexual innuendos, 1.8 kisses, and 1 suggestive gesture.
In all, TV characters talk about sex or display sexual behavior 15 times an hour, or once every four minutes."
Youth Worker Update, quoted in Signs of the Times, June, 1993,
Long before the advent of television, long before Johnny Carson and David Letterman, philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote:
"Suppose someone invented an instrument, a convenient little talking tube
which, say, could be heard over the whole land...I wonder if the police would not forbid it, fearing that the whole
country would become mentally deranged if it were used."
Charles Colson, Against the Night, p. 41.
Hollywood really is different from the rest of the country. A survey of 104 top television writers and executives found that
their attitudes toward moral and religious questions aren't shared by their audience.
Believe adultery is wrong: Hollywood 49%, Everyone else 85%.
Have no religious affiliation: Hollywood 45%, Everyone else 4%.
Believe homosexual acts are wrong: Hollywood 20%, Everyone else 76%.
Believe in a woman's right to abortion: Hollywood 97%, Everyone else 59%.
The Center for Media and Public Affairs, "The
Elite and How to Avoid It", Newsweek, July 20.
Percentage of sexual acts depicted or referred to on soap operas that are between married partners: 3%
Charis Conn (Ed.), What Counts: The Complete Harper's
Percentage of American's who watch TV during dinner: 50%
Charis Conn (Ed.), What Counts: The Complete Harper's
Religion is virtually invisible on network television, a recent study concludes. Scholars from three universities who monitored
100 prime-time TV shows aired by ABC, NBC, CBS, and the Fox Network determined that references to religion rarely appear on
the screen, and when they do, religious beliefs or practices are seldom presented in a positive light. The survey found that 95%
of all speaking characters on TV programs have no identifiable religious affiliation.
Thomas Skill, a University of Dayton researcher who helped compile the report commissioned by the
American Family Association, said television's treatment of religion "tends to be best characterized as abuse through
neglect." Skill said ABC showed the greatest respect toward religious behavior, while Fox most often ridiculed religion or
linked it to humor.
National & International Religion Report, March, 1992.
Only 700 people--writers, producers and actors--produce 75% of all TV programming. According to a
Lichter-Rothman survey, 86 percent never or seldom attend a church or synagogue; 84 percent
say government should make no laws regarding sex; and 95 percent believe homosexuality is not wrong.
Intercessors for America Newsletter, Vol. 15, No. 6,
The A.C. Nielson Co., which measures television audiences and their behavior, revealed that in the average American home the
television set is on six hours and fourteen minutes per day. This is 2 hours more per day than the daily average in the 1960's
which is approximately the same point in time that the Standard Achievement Test scores began to decline. This time frame is
significant because the first generation to cut its teeth on TV began taking SATs in the early 1960's, which is, of course, when
the decline in scores started. Media and Methods reported that while the TV is on in the American home approximately 2100 hours
per year, the average American spends only five hours per year reading books.
Resources, #2, May/June, 1990.
The average number of hours that a U.S. household with a pay cable hookup spends watching TV each week is only nine minutes
less than 60 hours! That works out to nearly two-and-a-half days per week. A household with basic cable spends 54 hours and 35
minutes before the tube, while a household without cable TV spends 47 hours and 17 minutes.
Resources, #2, May/June, 1990.
The average young teenage American girl views 1,500 references to sexual acts on TV annually, according to a study at Michigan
State University. Boys of that age view an average of nearly 1,300 such and attend 17 R-rated movies annually. According to
the teens studied, parents "never" or "not often" limited their
TV viewing. There's little indication that parents exercise any control, positive or negative, over TV viewing.
Homemade, March, 1989.
Percentage of Americans who say watching TV is their favorite way of spending an evening: 33.
Who watch TV during dinner: 50.
Who say a TV set is a necessity: 64.
1988 Gallup Report on Book Buying, reported in Zondervan Publishing House press release;
On the table side by side;
The Holy Bible and the TV Guide.
One is well worn but cherished with pride,
(Not the Bible, but the TV Guide).
One is used daily to help folk decide,
No! It isn't the Bible, it's the TV Guide.
As pages are turned, what shall we see?
Oh, what does it matter, turn on the TV.
Then confusion reigns, they can't all agree
On what they shall watch on the old TV.
So they open the book in which they confide
(No, not the Bible, it's the TV Guide).
The Word of God is seldom read,
Maybe a verse e'er they fall into bed.
Exhausted and sleepy and tired as can be,
Not from reading the Bible; from watching TV.
So, then back to the table, side by side,
Is the Holy Bible and the TV Guide.
No time for prayer, no time for the Word;
The plan of salvation is seldom heard.
Forgiveness of sin so full and free
Is found in the Bible, not on TV!
In the house
Of Mr. & Mrs. Spouse
He and she
Would watch TV,
And never a word
Between them was spoken
Until the day
The set was broken,
Then, "How do you do?"
Said He to She.
I don't believe we've met.
Spouse is my name.
What's yours?" he asked.
"Why, mine's the same!"
Said She to He.
"Do you suppose we could be...?"
But the set came suddenly right about
And they never did find out.
From a letter to Ann Landers.
Billy Graham recently (2/84) reported the results of a survey that found the viewing habits of Christians and non-Christians
show no discernable differences in either time spent in viewing or content viewed.
I will walk with integrity of heart within my house. I will not set before my eyes anything that is base.
In the U.S. preschool children make up the largest TV audience with a weekly average viewing time of at least 30.4 hours. By
the age of 17 the average American child has logged 15,000 hours watching TV, the equivalent of 2 years, day and night.
In 1983 the average household (in the US) spent seven hours and two minutes each day in front of the Screen, 14 minutes more
than in 1982 and two hours, 32 minutes more than in the 1950s.
Guidelines: A. Priorities: TV should not come before personal and family devotions, church responsibilities, schoolwork, or
household chores. B. Personal growth: TV should not become a substitute for reading good books nor replace family sharing. C.
Principles: TV programs should be rejected if they; 1) present violence as a legitimate way of achieving goals. 2) Approve of
adultery, homosexuality, or sex before marriage, either directly or by implication. 3) Reflect a negative attitude toward the
sacredness of the family and fidelity in marriage. 4) Minimize the seriousness of such sins as murder, dishonesty, greed, lust,
profanity, and immorality.
The 39,000 member American Academy of Pediatrics says too much TV watching by your children can turn them violent,
aggressive or overweight--and possibly all three. In their first statement in six years on kids and TV, the pediatricians last month advised
the nation's parents to reduce their children's video-viewing by at least half. Data from the
A.C. Nielsen Co. reveal that children aged 2 to 5 currently watch about 25 hours of TV a week;
those 6 to 11 watch more than 22 hours a week; and those in the 12 to 17 age-bracket watch 23 hours a week. The pediatricians
maintain that by the time today's child reaches age 70, he or she will have spent approximately seven years in front of the tube.
Parade Magazine, May 27, 1990, p. 13.
The TV set is my shepherd. My spiritual growth shall want. It maketh me to sit down and do nothing for his names's sake,
because it requireth all of my spare time. It keepeth me from doing my duty as a Christian, because it presenteth so many good
shows that I must see. It restoreth my knowledge of the things of the world and keepeth me from the study of God's Word. It
leadeth me in the paths of failing to attend the evening worship services and doing nothing in the kingdom of God. Yea, though I
live to be 100 I shall keep on viewing television as long as itwill work, for it is my closest companion. Its sound and its
picture, they comfort me. It presenteth entertainment before me and keepeth me from doing important things with my family. It
fills my head with ideas which differ from those set forth in the word of God. Surely, no good thing will come of my life, because
my television offereth me no good time to do the will of God; thus I will dwell crownless in the house of the Lord forever.
Actual or implied sexual intercourse takes place 2.7 times every hour, with 88% of all sex represented as taking place outside of
Youth Leader's Source Book, p. 21.
Commercials are very interesting. We have been able to calculate that the average kid will see about 750,000 of them between the
ages of six and 18, which makes them about the most important source of instruction of our children in America today. They are
30 second teaching modules, and the messages they teach are really quite striking. First, they teach that all problems are
resolvable. Second, they teach that all problems are resolvable fast. And third, that all problems are resolvable fast through
the means of technology. Television commercials do not stress that problems have origins or roots. Problems just seem to
strike, which is, of course, very well suited to TV because TV always communicates a sense of the now, of the immediate.
Neil Postman, professor of media ecology at New York Univ., Youthletter,
Dec, 1979, p. 92.