Out of all the inventions in the last 100 years,(and we certainly have had some) television would have to be the best.  At the press of a tiny button on the remote control, immediate entertainment satisfies every member of the family. We can start with the latest block buster movie for all film buffs to educational shows for the children. And what about  the sport channels?  Imagine, the Grand Final on the enormous Plasma screen without having to pay the exuberant price of a ticket. What about the cooking shows? With them we learn how to prepare a meal quickly and easily and still be entertained while we are cooking: the list is endless.

But unfortunately there is never a good side without a bad one. Now let us look at the negative side of home entertainment on which we depend so much.

We have just sat down comfortably to watch our favourite show, with either a cup of coffee or a nice cool drink (depending on one’s preference). The show starts and we are immediately engrossed in the plot, then all of a sudden ‘blink’ up pops a commercials which leaves us staring at the screen. Without even realizing what we are doing we move into the kitchen to refill our drink, take something to eat or even start a conversation with our partner which is totally unrelated to what we had been absorbed two and a half minutes before.  And surprise, surprise! we get back to our comfortable chair just as the show starts again. 

If by some coincidence the commercial attracts our attention, our eyes remain glued to the screen which catapults us into the imaginary world  of  commercials. (Isn’t  that what commercials are all about?)  Either we become the gorgeous, young, tall and beautiful young model, or we are driving that super fast slick car. So what effect does this have on our subconscious mind?

The constant interruption of programs by advertisements makes it almost impossible to concentrate on whatever one is watching. Without being aware of what is happening, the human brain initially finds it difficult to adapt. Very soon irritability sets in. But then slowly it the blob of gray matter we have inside our cranium becomes accustomed to the constant changes and actually appreciates the short spans. But what does this mean when we start considering the length of time our concentration goes on for? What are the complications involved?

Imagine trying to read a book and every 3 — 5 minutes being interrupted.  You would never finish the book and if you did, the story would be completely disjointed and meaningless. The same thing happens when programs are continuously interrupted.

Experts keep warning of the danger of watching too much Television, yet, I have not seen anything conclusive correlating the danger of money spinning commercial breaks to very short concentration spans; which affect us in our everyday life.

Regardless of what experts say I am a firm believer that the problem to our short concentration span is not the amount of time spent watching TV, but the constant advertisement breaks which does not allow many adults  concentrate fully on their jobs. The same applies to students in class

As a teacher I can see the difference between students who are chronic on air TV watchers and the ones who only go for full length DVD’s : the latter ones are the ones who are able to concentrate the longest.

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