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Not every item of news should be published. Rather must those who control news policies endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose - Joseph Paul Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister -
We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times,Time Magazine, and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during these years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supernational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries.- Brother David Rockefeller -
C.F.R. and Trilateral Commission Founder
"It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and myths that surround it." - John Pilger -
"We [the Zionists] have it all under such control that no one -- no one or no-body can reach people unless it is done through our media control. Who has had control of the mass media in the 20th century? -- Chairman of ABC pp Leonard Goldenson, President of CBS -- James H. Rosenfield, Chairman of RCS -- David Sarnoff, Chief Executive of NBC -- Fred Silverman, President of PBS -- Lawrence Grossman, Chairman of Time -- Arthur Heiskell, Editor of U.S. News & World Report -- Marvin Stone, Chief Executive of Dow Jones -- Warren H. Phillips, Editor of Newsweek -- Lester Bernstein, President of TV Guide -- Walter Annenberg, President of New York Times -- Sulzberger family, TV program producer -- Norman Lear -- these and more all are Jews!! We have it sewed up!!" - Harold Wallace Rosenthal Interview 1976 -
'In March, 1915, the J.P. Morgan interests, the steel, shipbuilding, and powder interest, and their subsidiary organizations, got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press....They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers.' " 'The world can therefore seize the opportunity [Persian Gulf crisis] to fulfill the long--held promise of a New World Order where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind.' - George Herbert Walker Bush -
Young people spend on average 53 hours a week watching TV, playing video games, and sitting at the computer.
Facebook users spend about 15 hours a month on the social networking site.
People are walking – and driving – blindly while texting, sometimes walking into fountains and even falling off cliffs.
Do you believe that you really think for yourself? Did you come up with your attitudes, opinions and beliefs on your own, or are they continually being shaped and molded by someone else? Could it be possible that you and everyone around you is actually hooked into a real life version of "the matrix" that is constantly defining your reality for you? Sadly, the truth is that almost all of us have willingly hooked ourselves into a colossal media system that literally tells us what to think.
In the United States today, the average American watches 153 hours of television a month. We also spend huge amounts of time watching movies, surfing the Internet, reading books and magazines, playing video games and listening to music. Many Americans are so addicted to being "connected" that they will actually become physically uncomfortable if they are at home and there is total silence. Somewhere around 90 percent of the "information" that we are allowing to be endlessly pumped into our heads is owned by just 6 gigantic media corporations. So could it be possible that the thousands of hours of "news and entertainment" that you are allowing these gigantic corporations to fill your head with each year is having an effect on you? Does the mainstream media have more control over you than you ever dreamed possible?
Our young people spend more than 200 hours a month connected to the mainstream media. But we only have about 480 waking hours a month to work with. If they are being exposed to that amount of continuous propaganda, what hope do our young people have?
In the old days, kids actually played with each other in the streets and adults actually left their homes to interact with one another. But these days we spend nearly all of our time sitting passively in our homes staring at flickering screens. Is that a sign of a healthy society? We were created to be social creatures. We were designed to love and to be loved. But these days people "love" their favorite sports teams or they "love" their favorite television shows but we have an increasingly difficult time having real relationships with each other. Meanwhile, the global elite rely on the mainstream media to keep us distracted and to control the boundaries of public discourse. Most of the time, the mainstream media focuses on the latest celebrity scandal or the latest dogfights between the Republicans and the Democrats and they systematically ignore many of the more important things that are taking place out there.
When you go to work or to school in the morning, what is everyone talking about? Usually, people are talking about something that they saw on television or that they heard about in the news. In our society today, the limited interactions that we do have with other people are usually defined by our mutual connection to the media. The mainstream media literally defines for us what is important and what is not. If the mainstream media does not talk about something, then it simply does not matter.
As long as the big corporations that control the media are dominating and controlling the conversation, is there any chance that there will ever be a mass awakening among the American people? Our young people seem particularly addicted to being constantly "connected" to the media matrix that is being constructed all around us.
Instead of telling us what is really going on in the world, the mainstream media keeps us endlessly distracted. So why do most Americans continue to fall for this nonsense? Sadly, part of the reason is because we have become so "dumbed down" as a society. It is not just our presidents that appear to be getting stupider. The truth is that our public education system is a total joke at this point. Many of our high school students are as dumb as a rock, and if you can believe it, 23 percent of all Americans cannot even read beyond a fourth-grade level. Of course the elite are quite pleased with this, because a stupid public is a public that is easier to dominate. When a large segment of the population can barely read and is accustomed to letting others do their thinking for them, it becomes easier to lie.
We were created to be social creatures. We were designed to love and to be loved. But these days people "love" their favorite sports teams or they "love" their favorite television shows but we have an increasingly difficult time having real relationships with each other. Meanwhile, the global elite rely on the mainstream media to keep us distracted and to control the boundaries of public discourse. Most of the time, the mainstream media focuses on the latest celebrity scandal or the latest dogfights between the Republicans and the Democrats and they systematically ignore many of the more important things that are taking place out there.
The mainstream media tends to be incredibly arrogant, and most of the time they don't even pretend to be "objective" or "neutral" anymore. Fortunately, more Americans than ever are becoming dissatisfied with the mainstream media and are starting to seek out alternative sources of information. According to a recent Gallup poll, the level of trust that the American public has in the mainstream media is now at an all-time low.
An addictive mind control device . . . what more could a government or profit-driven corporation ask for? But the really sad thing about television is that it turns everyone into a zombie, no one is immune. When you watch TV, brain activity switches from the left to the right hemisphere. In fact, experiments conducted by researcher Herbert Krugman showed that while viewers are watching television, the right hemisphere is twice as active as the left, a neurological anomaly. The crossover from left to right releases a surge of the body’s natural opiates: endorphins, which include beta-endorphins and enkephalins. Endorphins are structurally identical to opium and its derivatives (morphine, codeine, heroin, etc.). Activities that release endorphins (also called opioid peptides) are usually habit-forming. External opiates act on the same receptor sites (opioid receptors) as endorphins, so there is little difference between the two.
In fact, strenuous exercise, which produces the nominal “runner's high”—a release of endorphins that flood the system, can be highly addictive, to the point where “addicts” who abruptly stop exercising experience opiate-withdrawal symptoms, namely migraine headaches. These migraines are caused by a dysfunction in opioid receptors, which are accustomed to the steady influx of endorphins. Indeed, even casual television viewers experience such opiate-withdrawal symptoms if they stop watching TV for a prolonged period of time. The average American watches over six hours of television every day, and 49% of those continue to watch despite admitting to doing it excessively. These are the classic indicators of an addict in denial: addicts know they're doing harm to themselves, but continue to use the substance regardless.
Opioid-receptor stimulants induce addictive behaviors. The evidence is conclusive: all opioids are addictive! Even the ones your body produces naturally. The television set works as a high-tech drug delivery system, and we all feel its effects. When you're watching television the higher brain regions (like the midbrain and the neo-cortex) are shut down, and most activity shifts to the lower brain regions (like the limbic system). The neurological processes that take place in these regions cannot accurately be called cognitive. The lower or reptile brain simply stands poised to react to the environment using deeply embedded “fight or flight” response programs. Moreover, these lower brain regions cannot distinguish reality from fabricated images (a job performed by the neo-cortex), so they react to television content as though it were real, releasing appropriate hormones and so on. Studies have proven that, in the long run, too much activity in the lower brain leads to atrophy in the higher brain regions.
The right brain processes information in wholes, leading to emotional rather than intelligent responses. We cannot rationally attend to the content presented on television because that part of our brain is not in operation. It is therefore unsurprising that people rarely comprehend what they see on television, as was shown by a study where out of 2,700 people tested, 90% misunderstood what they watched on television only minutes before. As yet there is no explanation as to why we switch to the right brain while viewing television, but we do know this phenomenon is immune to content.
The more that is discovered about human consciousness and behavior, through observation and ever improving advanced technological research, the more is learned about how to control human beings. However the most powerful medium for takeover is already in place? The television set in your living room and bedroom is doing a lot more than just entertaining you. If you experience "mind fog" after watching television, you are not alone. Studies have shown that watching television induces low alpha waves in the human brain. Alpha waves are brainwaves between 8 to 12 HZ. and are commonly associated with relaxed meditative states as well as brain states associated with suggestibility.
After just 30 seconds of watching television the brain begins to produce alpha waves, which indicates torpid (almost comatose) rates of activity. Even if you're reading text on a television screen the brain registers low levels of activity. Once again, regardless of the content being presented, television essentially turns off your nervous system. In less than one minute of television viewing, the person's brainwaves switched from Beta waves-- brainwaves associated with active, logical thought-- to primarily Alpha waves. When the subject stops watching television and begins reading a magazine, the brainwaves revert to Beta waves.
Alpha: 8 Hz to 12 Hz, associated with relaxation
Lo-Beta: 12 Hz to 15 Hz, normal waking consciousness
Beta: 15 Hz to 18 Hz, normal waking consciousness
Hi-Beta: 19 Hz to 25 Hz, normal waking consciousness
Gamma: 26 to 100 Hz, associated with perception and consciousness and higher mental activity
One thing this indicates is that most parts of the brain, parts responsible for logical thought, get tuned-out during television viewing. Advertisers have known about this for a long time and they know how to take advantage of this passive, suggestible, brain state of the TV viewer. There is no need for an advertiser to use subliminal messages. The brain is already in a receptive state, ready to absorb suggestions, within just a few seconds of the television being turned on. All advertisers have to do is flash a brand across the screen, and then attempt to make the viewer associate the product with something positive.
When a very young child is riveted to the screen, parents may assume it is because the child is interested in the content. In fact, the real reason for such fixation could be a primitive reflex known as the orienting response. Children’s programmers use a technique called the orienting response to capture and keep a child’s attention. Television constantly triggers the orienting response in our brains. Television commercials and many action sequences on television routinely activate that orienting reflex once per second. And since we in this country, on average, watch television more than four and a half hours per day, those circuits of the brain are constantly being activated. The constant and repetitive triggering of the orienting response induces a quasi-hypnotic state. It partially immobilizes viewers and creates an addiction to the constant stimulation of two areas of the brain: the amygdala and the hippocampus (part of the brain's memory and contextualizing system).
It is the form, not the content, of television that is unique. Formal Features" are the camera cuts, pans, zooms etc. used very frequently in TV and movies. Because these "formal features" are so novel, and different from normal everyday reality, they trigger the brain's "orienting response." The "orienting response" is an important brain reflex that alerts us when there is a change in the environment. This "orienting response" is an essential survival mechanism because it forces us to pay attention to any (potentially dangerous) changes in the environment. Because of the involuntary nature of the "orienting response," another name for it is "involuntary attention."
It turns out that the "orienting response" has a particular brainwave effect. Namely, when the "orienting response" is triggered, the alpha brainwaves decrease. This decrease in alpha waves has the effect of making the brain more alert. Once the brain ascertains that whatever triggered the "orienting response" is not a threat, the Alpha brainwaves quickly return to their previous level. Also, during the "orienting response" ("involuntary attention") the Gamma brainwaves disappear. This decrease in Gamma waves has the effect of breaking the person's focus. Unlike the Alpha brainwaves, the Gamma brainwaves have a harder time returning to their previous levels. If the "orienting response" is triggered too often (as with TV watching) the brain stays unfocused.
The orienting response can be thought of as the "what's that" reflex. Simply put, it's our brains keen interest in something that is new or unexpected. For example: say you are quietly sitting in a forest, relaxing and letting your mind drift. All of a sudden you hear a roar. Instantly your "orienting response" is triggered, forcing you out of your reverie, and into a more alert state until you can ascertain what to do. In that case, the "orienting response" has had the effect of speeding up your brainwaves, from alpha (relaxation) to beta (alert). Now, lets repeat this little thought experiment, but with a difference. Say you are sitting in a forest playing your guitar. All of a sudden you hear a roar. Instantly, your "orienting response" is triggered, breaking your concentration, and putting your brain into an alert (but not focused) state until you can ascertain what to do. In that case, the "orienting response" has had the effect of slowing down your brainwaves, from hi-beta and gamma (focused concentration) to beta (alert). And that is how watching television effects the brainwaves. The frequent "formal features" such as camera cuts and zooms, trigger the viewer's "orienting response" over and over again. The result is a brain that is alert, but not focused. The greater the frequency of these formal features, the fewer the number of fast brainwaves, the less focused the mind.
It has been noted for some time that television can be mesmerizing for young children and that even children with attention deficit disorder, who can pay attention to little else for meaningful periods of time, can stay focused on television. One of the central ways that television succeeds in maintaining the attention of children is through the "orienting response. The Orienting Response has been a natural part of human (and mammalian) history for millennium. But this is the first time in the history of humankind where people are spending large amounts of time having their Orienting Response evoked continually every 3 to 10 seconds for hours on end. What are the effects on the mind and brain - particularly on the brains of young children.
An important feature of the Orienting Response is habituation. For example, the sound of a gunshot will trigger the Orienting Response. But if you go to a gun range and hear the sound of gunshots over and over again, your brain will habituate, and the Orienting Response will no longer be triggered. The brain does not Habituate to the "formal features" of TV. Perhaps because the "formal features" of TV portray a reality that is so very different from actual reality (in real life viewpoints and scenes do not change instantaneously). Perhaps our brains are hardwired to always take note of novel and/or instantaneous activity.
While Alpha waves achieved through meditation are beneficial (they promote relaxation and insight), too much time spent in the low Alpha wave state caused by TV can cause unfocussed daydreaming and inability to concentrate. Researchers have said that watching television is similar to staring at a blank wall for several hours. Children's orienting networks and error rates can be affected by a very short exposure to television.
If we see or hear something the brain doesn’t recognize as the correct sequence or a typical life event — such as a dancing alphabet or quick zooms and pans, we focus on it until the brain recognizes that it doesn’t pose a threat. The problem with watching too many programs that rely on OR is that with continued exposure to high intensity, unrealistic action, you’re conditioning the mind to expect that level of input. When the child doesn’t get the fast-paced input that television provides, he or she becomes bored and inattentive.
Neurons in the prefrontal cortex — the brain's planning center — fire in unison and send signals to the visual cortex to do the same, generating high-frequency waves that oscillate between these distant brain regions like a vibrating spring. These waves, also known as gamma oscillations, have long been associated with cognitive states like attention, learning, and consciousness. Gamma waves, which are a kind of brain wave necessary for concentration and cognition that people with autism and schizophrenia often lack.
Gamma waves are fast, high-frequency, rhythmic brain responses that have been shown to spike when higher cognitive processes are engaged. Research in adults and animals suggests that lower levels of gamma power might hinder the brain’s ability to efficiently package information into coherent images, thoughts and memories. Analyzing children’s EEGs (electroencephalograms), a research team found that those with higher language and cognitive abilities had correspondingly higher gamma power than those with poorer language and cognitive scores. Similarly, children with better attention and inhibitory control, the ability to moderate or refrain from behavior when instructed, also had higher gamma power.
In addition to its devastating neurological effects, television can be harmful to your sense of self-worth, your perception of your environment, and your physical health. Recent surveys have shown that 75% of American women think they are overweight, likely the result of watching chronically thin actresses and models four hours a day. Television has also spawned a “culture of fear” in the U.S. and beyond, with its focus on the limbic brain-friendly sensationalism of violent programming. Studies have shown that people of all generations greatly overestimate the threat of violence in real life. This is no shock because their brains cannot discern reality from fiction while watching TV. Television is bad for your body as well. Obesity, sleep deprivation, and stunted sensory development are all common among television addicts.
The aim of commercials is not to appeal to the rational or conscious mind (which usually dismisses advertisements) but rather to implant moods that the consumer will associate with the product when it is encountered in real life. When we see product displays at a store, for instance, those positive emotions are triggered. Endorsements from beloved athletes and other celebrities evoke the same associations. If you’ve ever doubted the power of television advertising, bear this in mind: commercials work better if you’re not paying attention to them!
Children, ages 8 to 14 spend over 4 hours per day (on average) watching TV/videos. Younger children, infancy to age 6 watch an average of one hour of TV daily. So (assuming 1 hour per day for children aged 2 to 8) by age 14, that works out to a total of 10,950 hours or 1.25 years (24 hours per day) in front of the TV.
How a person uses his/her brain during childhood has a huge effect on how their brain develops. Scientists call this Neuroplasticity. During TV watching, the viewers' gamma brainwaves almost disappear. For adults, this does not matter so much since their brains are not nearly as "plastic" as a child's brain. What are the effects on a child's developing brain of hours and hours of suppressed fast brainwave activity?
Just 3.5 min of watching television can have a differential effect on the viewer depending on the pacing of the film editing. This highlights the potential of experimentally manipulating television exposure in children.
Every hour you spend watching the television set you become more conditioned. Not only is the message engineered to elicit a response, but it’s fed to viewers who are in a trance-like alpha state induced by the flicker of the television broadcast signal. It’s been demonstrated that well within two minutes of watching television, most people enter a hypnotic alpha state bordering on theta. Viewers in this state are no longer able to critically evaluate, discern, or pass judgement from their own moral database on the material being viewed. The information just flows, unimpeded, into their subconscious year in and year out.
When you watch television you automatically enter into an alpha state and transfer into your right brain. The result is the internal release of the body's own opiates, encephalons and Beta-endorphins, chemically almost identical to opium. In other words, your mind feels good, and you want to come back for more.
Recent tests by researcher Herbert Krugman showed that while viewers were watching TV, right-brain activity outnumbered left-brain activity by a ratio of two to one. Put more simply, the viewers were in trance more often than not. They were getting their Betaendorphin "fix". To measure attention spans, psycho-physiologist Thomas Mulholland of the Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts, attached children to an EEG machine that was wired to shut off a TV set whenever the children's brains produced a majority of alpha waves. Although the children were told to concentrate, only a few could keep the set on for more than 30 seconds!
Most viewers are already hypnotized. To deepen the trance is easy. One simple way is to place a blank, black frame every 32 frames in the film that is being projected. This creates a 45 beat per minute pulsation, perceived only by the subconscious mind, the ideal pace to generate deep hypnosis. The commercials or suggestions presented following this alpha-inducing broadcast are much more likely to be accepted by the viewer. The high percentage of the viewing audience that has somnambulistic-depth ability could very well accept the suggestions as commands, as long as those commands did not ask the viewer to do something contrary to his morals, religion, or self-preservation.
The medium for mind takeover is here. By the age of 16, children have spent 10,000 to 15,000 hours watching television, which is more time than they spend in school! In the average home, the TV set is on for six hours and 44 minutes a day. This is three times the average during the 1970s. It obviously isn't getting better. We are rapidly moving into an alpha-level world, very possibly the Orwellian world of 1984, placid, glassy-eyed, and responding obediently to instructions.
A research project by Jacob Jacoby, a Purdue University psychologist, found that of 2700 people tested, 90 percent misunderstood even such simple viewing fare as commercials. Only minutes after watching the screen, the typical viewer missed 23 to 36 percent of the questions about what he or she had seen. Of course they did, they were going in and out of trance! If you go into a deep trance, you must be instructed to remember, otherwise you automatically forget. When you start to combine subliminal messages behind music, subliminal visuals projected on the screen, hypnotically produced visual effects and sustained musical beats at a trance inducing pace, you have extremely effective brainwashing.
Some children watch television 30 hours or more a week. Children watch violence and about every negative thing you can imagine and it all goes right into the psyche where it is permanently stored. By the time most of our young people are 16, they’ve witnessed 8000 violent murders, and about 200,000 violent injuries on television – and each one of those events has now become a part of that child’s subconscious mind. The medium is so strong it actually turns these children into little templates of uniform behavior. Kids nowadays are primarily a composite of what they THINK they ought to be and what they’re shown on TV to be ‘cool’, hip, trendy and stylish. Most children don’t know who they really are anymore. They don’t have much of a chance. How can you wake someone up when there’s nobody home?
There is very little pragmatic, critical thinking performed by the mass of America. There are irrational responses because we are a reactive society. People react to stimuli – that’s the big game. They react to the images and sounds.” And not just random images or sound – but ones engineered to cultivate a response, most often a “buy” response.
The news that the public is being fed every single day is very heavily filtered and very heavily censored. In a world where "spin" is everything, simply telling the truth is a revolutionary act. Fortunately, the Internet has helped fuel the rise of the alternative media, and millions of Americans that are starting to wake up are turning to the alternative media for answers to their unanswered questions. Increasingly, people are becoming willing to question the orthodoxy that is being shoved down their throats by the major news networks, and that is a very good thing. The world is becoming an incredibly unstable place, and it is more imperative than ever that we all learn to think for ourselves. We live during a time of great deception, and the lies are going to get even bigger and even more bold in the years to come. If we don't know why we believe what we believe, then we are in danger of falling for just about anything.
It is those that seek the truth that end up finding it. If you just accept the version of reality that the system wants to feed you, then you are probably going to become what the system wants you to become. But if you are not afraid to question everything, then you will have a chance to become everything that you were always meant to be.
People actually think you can arrive at the truth by averaging what you hear. That’s how most people are taught to think. It totally explains the power of the mass media. Just think about this dynamic. How do people arrive at conclusions? What information or lack thereof are they deriving it from? It's a pretty stark reality if you’re willing to look it in the eyes.
While a defined consensus gets established and reaffirms the status quo, “contrary” eddies of thought and realization make their way through the public psyche. These are carefully ferreted out by watchdog media pundits and portrayed as “fringe” ideas and “conspiracy theories” of course. Carefully and dutifully packaged and sublimated into a negative subconscious arena. Anything contrary is now anathema, resented; spuriously thrown overboard as wingnut conspiracy talk. Typical. And very efficient.
9/11 is always the standard reminder of how duped the world can be. Plain as the nose on your face those towers were brought down by controlled demolition, but what the hell. No one cares. As obvious as it is, the Truth can just be right there without people being able to see it. It’s the condition of our “race”…we want to believe what we want and will cloak it in “positive thinking” or “idealism” or imposed bottom line security needs whenever we can for peace and comfort. Blindness until awakened.
This psychological pandering we’re witnessing is simply a ploy to keep the masses asleep. The populace has been duped, hypnotized, seduced. It no longer can contain, maintain or control itself. It must have the savories and goodies of the system or it will go berserk. This addiction is firmly established. Football, advertising, game shows, reality dramas, zombie and vampire horror and sci-fi movies! We want more! We want another reality, not our own! Scantily dressed young girls, sculpted effeminized men, cross-sexual weirdness of every type and genre. Chaos is our new middle name.
Unintentional injuries are the major cause of death and disability among American children. Recent study findings suggest that unsafe behaviors by TV characters may influence children to take risks that can result in injuries. Television is one of the biggest threats to kids. Children are bombarded by unsafe messages, which overwhelm safe messages given by parents and teachers. Many television programs show pedestrians who cross the street in the middle of the block, young children who swim without adult supervision, and bicyclists who do not use helmets or other protective clothing. TV that depicts too many unsafe activities without consequences may affect how children view such risks, the researchers report.
Previous research shows that children who view 4 hours of television daily are 4.3 times more likely to be hospitalized for injury than are children who watch no television. By age 18 years, the average child has spent the equivalent of more than 2 years of his or her life watching television. The frequent occurrence of unsafe messages in many television shows potentially outweigh the benefits of safety education campaigns and may, in part, explain the persistence of unsafe behaviors and injury among American's youth. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine April 2000; 154:366-369. Childhood illnesses and injuries leading to bed rest used to be special times for bonding and family rituals. Children used to have books read to them or played quiet games while recovering form chicken pox or a broken leg. Today, sick children spend their days watching videos and television. In the past, holiday gatherings found children playing outdoors and adults gathered in lively discussions.
Today, children are more apt to gather around the television or computer than to play a game outdoors.In fact, some family gatherings seem to revolve around TV, with Thanksgiving dinners prepared to suit the timing of football games. Television teaches children that rude, irresponsible behavior is not only acceptable but also glamorous. Children learn about sex and violence apart from their consequences, emotional attachments, and responsibilities. They learn to act impulsively, without reflection or advice from elders. Qualities such as wisdom and processes like thinking through a problem are difficult to express on a television screen, especially when the medium depends on sensationalism and shock rather than character and insight.
1. Anything interesting that might happen to be aired on TV can be seen on the internet HOURS (sometimes days) before. And sometimes the really interesting stuff is never seen on TV because someone, somewhere does not want you to see it and they mistakenly think they can keep you from it.
2. You have to search for the truth – the television is NOT the place to find it. Cable news will NEVER tell you the truth – never, ever.
3. Reality television is not reality, nor is it entertaining…unless you feel the need to waste your time relishing in the misfortune and embarrassment of others.
4. The TV does not allow you to comment, give your opinion, or call bullshit on what you read, hear, or see – the internet does.
5. Drug company ads. Especially those trying to push anti-depressants.
6. “Healthy GMOs” (the world’s most dangerous oxymoron) advertisements. No, High Fructose Corn Syrup is NOT just like sugar, no matter how many times and ways they say it.
7. The Mayans say we have less than a year left on this planet – do you really want to spend it watching someone else living a fake life? Wouldn’t you rather spend what precious time you have left living your own life?
8. Political LIES – both sides, all channels. This is an election year – and every politician will be on TV telling lies. (Except Ron Paul.)
9. You will always be more interesting than any person on TV. Period.
10. $$$$$ – Why should we pay inflated prices for something that hides the truth, does not entertain us, may actually hurt us, and can never be as interesting as our own lives? That’s like paying for an ex-boy/girlfriend to hang around. Isn’t it?
The George Soros funded organization, Media Matters, is an Obama administration front that strategizes with the White House on a weekly basis on how to influence and direct the media. Media Matters has habitually attempted to denigrate and smear Alex Jones and his message of liberty, by dismissing Jones as a crazed “conspiracy theorist” and then connecting him to other targets of their attacks, people like Ron Paul, Glenn Beck, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Lou Dobbs and the Fox News network. Media Matters also recently defended Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security by impugning an Infowars story about the DHS targeting white middle class Americans as terrorists, and then deriding other media networks for also covering the issue. The organization has also routinely carried smear attacks implying that questioning the official story behind 9/11 is some kind of thought crime, despite the fact that six of the ten 9/11 commissioners have disputed the government’s account. The organization conducts “a weekly strategy call with the White House” and that an Obama administration representative meets with Media Matters reps at the Common Purpose Project meeting at the Capitol Hilton on 16th Street in Washington every Tuesday evening.
Media Matters has been in regular contact with political operatives in the Obama administration. Media Matters brags about how it works with the White House to control big media networks. The group also targets journalists who refuse to be water carriers for Media Matters’ propaganda. Media Matters barely even attempts to hide the fact that it is a mouthpiece for the Obama administration and the political elite. Media Matters has now been completely exposed as little more than an attack dog for the Obama administration.
Back in 1983, approximately 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the United States. Today, ownership of the news media has been concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations. These corporate behemoths control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites.
Sadly, most Americans don't even stop to think about who is feeding them the endless hours of news and entertainment that they constantly ingest. Most Americans don't really seem to care about who owns the media. But they should. The truth is that each of us is deeply influenced by the messages that are constantly being pounded into our heads by the mainstream media. The average American watches 153 hours of television a month. In fact, most Americans begin to feel physically uncomfortable if they go too long without watching or listening to something. Sadly, most Americans have become absolutely addicted to news and entertainment and the ownership of all that news and entertainment that we crave is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands each year.
The six corporations that collectively control U.S. media today are Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal. Together, the "big six" absolutely dominate news and entertainment in the United States. But even those areas of the media that the "big six" do not completely control are becoming increasingly concentrated. For example, Clear Channel now owns over 1000 radio stations across the United States. Companies like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are increasingly dominating the Internet.
But it is the "big six" that are the biggest concerns. When you control what Americans watch, hear and read you gain a great deal of control over what they think. They don't call it "programming" for nothing.
Back in 1983 it was bad enough that about 50 corporations dominated U.S. media. But since that time, power over the media has rapidly become concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people....
Today, six colossal media giants tower over all the rest. Much of the information below comes from mediaowners.com. The chart below reveals only a small fraction of the media outlets that these six behemoths actually own....
These gigantic media corporations do not exist to objectively tell the truth to the American people. Rather, the primary purpose of their existence is to make money. These gigantic media corporations are not going to do anything to threaten their relationships with their biggest advertisers (such as the largest pharmaceutical companies that literally spend billions on advertising), and one way or another these gigantic media corporations are always going to express the ideological viewpoints of their owners.
Fortunately, an increasing number of Americans are starting to wake up and are realizing that the mainstream media should not be trusted. According to a new poll released by Gallup, the number of Americans that have little to no trust in the mainstream media (57%) is at an all-time high. That is one reason why we have seen the alternative media experience such rapid growth over the past few years. The mainstream media has been losing credibility at a staggering rate, and Americans are starting to look elsewhere for the truth about what is really going on.
Do you think that anyone in the mainstream news would actually tell you that the Federal Reserve is bad for America or that we are facing a horrific derivatives bubble that could destroy the entire world financial system? Do you think that anyone in the mainstream media would actually tell you the truth about the de-industrialization of America or the truth about the voracious greed of Goldman Sachs?
Sure there are a few courageous reporters in the mainstream media that manage to slip a few stories past their corporate bosses from time to time, but in general there is a very clear understanding that there are simply certain things that you just do not say in the mainstream news. But Americans are becoming increasingly hungry for the truth, and they are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the dumbed down pablum that is passing as "hard hitting news" these days.
The TV and your computer monitor can be used to manipulate your nervous system. Computer monitors and TV monitors can be made to emit weak low-frequency electromagnetic fields merely by pulsing the intensity of displayed images. Experiments have shown that the ½ Hz sensory resonance can be excited in this manner in a subject near the monitor. The 2.4 Hz sensory resonance can also be excited in this fashion. Hence, a TV monitor or computer monitor can be used to manipulate the nervous system of nearby people.
As a result of many hours they spend in front of the TV, children are in effect being parented by network producers rather than by their own parents. Citing epidemic obesity levels among US children, Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher called April 21, 2000 for parents to limit the amount of time their children spend watching television. At a Washington press conference, Satcher and Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Shirley R. Watkins announced their support of National TV Turnoff Week, which runs from April 22 to 28. The campaign is run by TV-Free America, a nonprofit group that encourages Americans to reduce their TV viewing. Studies by Nielsen Media Research show that the average American watches 3 hours and 43 minutes of television each day, which adds up to 56 days of nonstop TV per year. We've mutated from citizens to consumers in the last sixty years.
The first two years of life is when the greatest and most rapid development of the brain occurs. As all parents know, a child's mind is different from an adult's, and the differences go beyond children's innocent and often poetic perceptions of the world. While the adult brain has two distinct hemispheres, the infant brain is a single receptacle of sensory experience in which neither side has developed or overpowered the other. Until they learn language, children absorb experience using a kind of nonverbal "thinking," characterized later in the brain's development as a right hemispheric function. When language begins, each hemisphere seems to be equally developed. In its structural and biochemical sense, the brain doesn't reach its full maturation until about age 12. By maturation, the left hemisphere typically develops as the dominant side, controlling the verbal and logical functions of the brain, while the right hemisphere controls spatial and visual functions. For many years, such development was thought to be genetically predetermined and unaffected by life experiences. Today, however, this belief has changed. Although the acquisition of language appears to be universal, we now recognize that the abilities required for expression and reasoning are not automatic. Watching televison threatens the development of these abilities because it requires a suspension of active cognition.
The next time you take your kids to the doctor, you may be asked how much television they watch. Their "media history" will be examined as part of the American Academy of Pediatricians' (AAP) program to counter TV and other media's adverse effects on children's health. And the first step for doctors is to determine just how much TV, movie, video game and music content are being absorbed by their patients' pliant young brains. The media history includes a wide range of questions on content, supervision and behaviors, including: The academy, which spent two years developing the policy, suggested in 1990 that children be limited to one to two hours of "quality" -programming a day. In 1997, the AAP launched a campaign to educate pediatricians on the influences television can have on children. Groups including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the National Institute of Mental Health have linked aggressiveness in older children to violence in movies and television repeatedly. "Do you watch TV with your child or know what your child is watching?" "Do you allow your child to eat meals or snacks while watching TV?" "Have you talked to your child about [music] lyrics you object to?" "Do you have any specific concerns about your child's own sense of body image or sexuality, [or] your child's displays of aggressive behavior or use of foul language?"
The ill effects of too much Power Rangers or Dawson's Creek for young kids fall into two categories, experts say. Forgoing physical activity and social interaction by basking in the blue glow can lead to obesity, depression and poor school performance. But even more troubling, experts say, is the tendency for children to emulate fictional characters whose behavior translates to real-world health risks. There's clearly a link between viewing violent television and more aggressive behaviors. It doesn't stop there: Eating disorders, smoking and drug and alcohol abuse have all been cited as behaviors encouraged by certain movies and television shows.
And then there's sex. The AAP notes that the average young viewer is exposed to more than 14,000 sexual references each year, yet only a handful of shows provide an accurate portrayal of responsible sexual behavior or accurate information about birth control, abstinence or the risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Under the new AAP guidelines, pediatricians are to advise parents to screen what their children watch, to view programs with their kids, and to discuss issues as they come up. The guidelines also strongly advise parents to ban television for children under two, who have a critical need for direct interactions for healthy brain growth and the development of appropriate social, emotional and cognitive skills.
The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends that children under the age of two not watch TV or videos, and that older children watch only one to two hours per day of non-violent, educational TV. Young children watching TV are routinely described as transfixed, passive, and nonverbal. One of television's appeals for parents is that it serves as an immediate way to silence and sedate toddlers. But such nonverbal absorption does more than simply relax and amuse preschoolers. Language spoken by actors on TV does not have the same effect as real-life language experiences. The Journal of Broadcasting reported that language skills among American children declined as TV viewing time increased. In real life, conversation is reciprocal and participatory; it allows time for reflection, questions, and encouragement. television, however, is a one-way street, and you had better stay glued, ask no questions, and take no time for thought, because the next scene will appear in seconds and there is no rewind. As a result, children learn not to think but to remain passive and unresponsive to whatever stimulus appears before them.
Television conditions them to absorb images without mental effort and to expect rapid change. Since young children's questions and imaginations are the cornerstone of their learning processes, remaining unresponsive hour after hour, day after day, year after year, surely affects their intellectual, emotional, and moral development. Fantasy play, a critical component of childhood, allows children to explore different situations with varying responses and outcomes. While books and storytelling nourish fantasy play, fantasy watching doesn't foster the same reaction. The US Department of Education reports that 81% of children ages 2 to 7 watch TV unsupervised, which means that young children enter a world of fantasy without the guidance and oversight of an adult. Research by the Yale University Family Television and Consultation Center reveals that imagination decreases as TV watching increases. TV teaches children to be amused by its images instead of encouraging kids to create their own. It dulls the mind by the power of its fast-moving pictures, supplanting the mental activity necessary to follow in the mind's eye a book or a storyteller's tale.
The Yale Center reports that complex language and grammar skills are directly linked to fantasy play, and that children who create fantasy play are more tolerant, peaceful, patient, and happy. Many children become habituated to TV by their parents, who desire a break from their child's activity and attention. However, the short-term benefit of a quiet, mesmerized child may actually lead to a greater dependence on adult supervision by creating children who are less capable of amusing themselves. By supplanting their imaginations, creating fast-paced pictures, and transforming active minds into passive recipients, TV teaches mental lethargy. For a child raised on hourly doses of TV, boredom is a common component of later childhood. In refusing to use TV during the preschool years, parents may save themselves from constantly having to create amusements for their children.
A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, along with experts at the CDC and the National Institutes of Health, concludes that a child's weight increases with the number of hours he or she spends watching television each day. These experts are calling it a US "epidemic" of childhood obesity. Many US children watch a great deal of television and are inadequately vigorously active. The researchers discovered that 20% of US children partake in two or fewer bouts of vigorous activity per week (Health experts currently recommend at least three periods of strenuous exercise per week). The problem stems from the fact that watching television is a sedentary activity--but it's much more than that. Children are watching TV, many times eating high-calorie/high-fat snack foods, and watching commercials for fast food, all of which encourage more eating.
The study also showed that 26% of US children watched 4 or more hours of television per day. Experts already label television viewing as the number one leisure-time activity of most school-age children. The study's authors point out that the average high school graduate will likely spend 15,000 to 18,000 hours in front of a television but only 12,000 hours in school. As television-viewing time rises, time spent exercising outdoors declines, especially among girls. A decrease in physical activity seems to occur as girls move from the 11- to 13-year age group to the 14- to 16-year age group. African-American and Mexican-American children had lower rates of exercise, and higher rates of television viewing, compared with their white peers. The researchers found that 48% of black children watched 4 or more hours of television per day--nearly double the national average. The Journal of the American Medical Association (1998;279(12):938-942, 959-960)
One expert believes more cases of TV-induced epileptic seizures, like those experienced by hundreds of Japanese youngsters last autumn, are inevitable unless governments implement more rigorous broadcasting standards. While either high-speed flashes of light or rapid color changes are thought able to induce seizures in vulnerable individuals, researchers discovered that color was the culprit behind the Japanese seizures. Among susceptible individuals, rapidly changing stimuli can play havoc with the special cells in the retina called rods and cones that help the eye transmit visual information to the brain. Certain frequencies are known to raise the likelihood of seizure among certain susceptible individuals. After a similar incident occurred during the 1993 airing of a British television commercial, state regulators imposed a series of preventive guidelines on all programming broadcast in the United Kingdom. Similar safeguards were not in place during the Japanese seizure outbreak, and do not currently exist in North America or on the European continent. Nature Medicine (1998;4:265-266)
Children who watch a lot of television are more likely to sustain injuries than those who watch less TV. For every hour of TV viewed per day, the risk of injury rose by about 34% in the children studied. And the researchers found that children who watched 4 hours of TV a day--the average for American kids--were more than four times more likely to be injured than children who watched no television. Paradoxically, a child who spends more time watching television and devotes fewer hours to potentially more dangerous physical activities and games is at greater risk of experiencing events that cause physical injuries. Why might TV-watching increase the odds of injuries among children? Television shows often distort reality. In TV cartoons, characters get run over by trains, and are up and running in the next frame. In action adventure shows, heroes jump from rooftop to rooftop without a slip. By distorting the consequences of risk-taking, television may encourage it. A previous study showed that by age 70, the average child today will have spent between 7 and 10 years of his or her life watching television. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine July, 1998.
Children who view as little as 3 hours of television per day could be at risk of behavioral problems, depression and increased aggression. And children at highest risk for these three factors tend to be classified as heavy TV viewers. Children who reported watching greater amounts of TV per day (more than 6 hours) had significantly higher total trauma symptom scores than children who reported watching less than 5 hours of TV per day. Two thirds of the students reported watching at least 3 hours of TV daily; more than one third watched 5 or more hours of TV per day and approximately one fifth watched at least 6 hours per day. Dr. Singer also said in an interview that 70% of the children surveyed had access to cable or satellite TV, regardless of whether or not they lived in rural or urban areas. Studies have shown that cable TV carries shows with very violent content.
Dr. Schor from Harvard University wrote the book The Overspent American that provides some marvelous insights on television watching. She conducted a large-scale study of American spending and saving habits and correlated the results with other lifestyle factors. She concluded that for every hour of television a person watches per week, the average American spends $200. Sitting in front of the television 5 extra hours a week (two sitcoms a night) raises your yearly spending by about $1000. Indebtedness as an outgrowth of TV watching arises not so much from viewers repeated exposure to advertising, but from their attempts to emulate the lavish lifestyles enjoyed by fictional characters in soap operas and prime-time television dramas. The more television people watch the more they tend to believe that ordinary citizens have servants, limousines, and huge houses. TV will show 24 year old waitresses with expansive lofts and exotic sports cars, not ratty one-room apartments and battered Geo Metros. In addition, folks who watch a lot of TV are more willing to go into debt in pursuit of what they believe is an accurate depiction of normal life.
Consumers rack up heavy credit-card debt chasing the televised fantasy or in academic jargon "engage in competitive consumption for the purpose of image management." Contrary to popular conceptions, Dr. Schor found a positive correlation with higher education and indebtedness. The further people have climbed up the educations ladder, the less likely they are to save money. The heaviest shoppers are women with graduate degrees, which may be attributed to their heightened awareness of the trappings of social status. Those most likely to live within their means and save money are the millionaires next door, folks with less formal education who have worked hard building their own businesses. Not surprisingly, the more successful people are with their own businesses the less time they have for watching TV.
Kids are by far the most voracious viewers. A report in a recent JAMA claims that children in the US watch 15,000 to 18,000 hours of television between he ages of 2 and 17 as compared to 12,000 hours of school. Many medical studies have correlated excessive TV viewing with childhood obesity and adult depression. Certain crime statistics also correlate well with the market penetration of television, larceny and burglary both increased as a corresponding rate following TV's rise in popularity in the 1950s. Stereophile October 1998 43.
What do Children Learn? What Can Parents Do?
In a 2000 report on youth violence U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher stated that violent television programming and video games have become a public-health issue and that repeated exposure to violent entertainment during early childhood causes more aggressive behavior throughout a child's life. Violent programs on television lead to aggressive behavior by children and teenagers who watch those programs. That's the word from a 1982 report by the National Institute of Mental Health, a report that confirmed and extended an earlier study done by the Surgeon General. As a result of these and other research findings, the American Psychological Association passed a resolution in February 1985 informing broadcasters and the public of the potential dangers that viewing violence on television can have for children.
The American Psychological Association notes that children who regularly watch violence on televison are more fearful and distrustful of the world, less bothered by violence, and slower to intervene or call for help when they see fighting or destructive behavior. Ninety-one percent of children polled said they felt "upset" or "scared" by violence on television. A University of Pennsylvania study found that children's TV shows contain roughly 20 acts of violence each hour. After watching violent programs, the APA reports, children are more likely to act out aggressively, and children who are regularly exposed to violent programming show a greater tendency toward hitting, arguing, leaving tasks unfinished, and impatience.
Psychological research has shown three major effects of seeing violence on television: Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others. Children may be more fearful of the world around them Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others. Children who watch a lot of TV are less aroused by violent scenes than are those who only watch a little; in other words, they're less bothered by violence in general, and less likely to see anything wrong with it. One example: in several studies, those who watched a violent program instead of a nonviolent one were slower to intervene or to call for help when, a little later, they saw younger children fighting or playing destructively. Studies by George Gerbner, Ph.D., at the University of Pennsylvania, have shown that children's TV shows contain about 20 violent acts each hour and also that children who watch a lot of television are more likely to think that the world is a mean and dangerous place.
Children often behave differently after they've been watching violent programs on TV. In one study done at Pennsylvania State University, about 100 preschool children were observed both before and after watching television; some watched cartoons that had a lot of aggressive and violent acts in them, and others watched shows that didn't have any kind of violence. The researchers noticed real differences between the kids who watched the violent shows and those who watched nonviolent ones. "Children who watch the violent shows, even 'just funny' cartoons, were more likely to hit out at their playmates, argue, disobey class rules, leave tasks unfinished, and were less willing to wait for things than those who watched the nonviolent programs," says Aletha Huston, Ph.D., now at the University of Kansas.
Findings from the laboratory are further supported by field studies, which have shown the long-range effects of televised violence. Leonard Eron, Ph.D., and his associates at the University of Illinois, found that children who watched many hours of TV violence when they were in elementary school tended to also show a higher level of aggressive behavior when they became teenagers. By observing these youngsters until they were 30 years old, Dr. Eron found that the ones who'd watched a lot of TV when they were eight years old were more likely to be arrested and prosecuted for criminal acts as adults.
In spite of this accumulated evidence, broadcasters and scientists continue to debate the link between the viewing TV violence and children's aggressive behavior. Some broadcasters believe that there is not enough evidence to prove that TV violence is harmful. But scientists who have studied this issue say that there is a link between TV violence and aggression, and in 1992, the American Psychological Association's Task Force on Television and Society published a report that confirms this view. The report, entitled Big World, Small Screen: The Role of Television in American Society, showed that the harmful effects of TV violence do exist. Aggressive tendencies fostered in children by violent television shows and video games can be tempered if they cut back on their viewing and playing time, a new Stanford University study shows. Researchers found a 50% decrease in the level of aggression after an effort to get children to watch less television. Children who are already showing signs of hostility are most positively affected by the cutting down on hours spent watching TV. Another benefit is a closer relationship among family members. Research has shown an average of 43% of children having television sets in their bedrooms. Boys were seen being physically aggressive (touching, hitting, pushing, pulling or throwing objects) once every two minutes. For girls, it was once every five minutes.
While most scientists are convinced that children can learn aggressive behavior from television, they also point out that parents have tremendous power to moderate that influence. Because there is a great deal of violence in both adult and children's programming, just limiting the number of hours children watch television will probably reduce the amount of aggression they see. The best way to keep TV from becoming an issue with children, of course, is not to begin using it. If a TV is present in the home, it is vital to establish clear rules on its use and to maintain these rules. Never make TV a reward or a punishment; this only heightens its power. When starting the withdrawal from TV, explain why you are making these changes and that it is not a punishment. The first month will be the most difficult. Children may cry or plead, but you can remain firm if you keep in mind that you are freeing them from an addiction. It is also imperative that you help your children learn how to fill the time that they formerly spent watching TV.
Work with them to nurture interests, discover hobbies, and explore new possibilities. Begin a nightly read-aloud for the entire family. Take walks after breakfast or dinner. Share your hobbies--sewing, knitting, baking bread--with them. Learn to play instruments and make music as a family. Encourage children to help with work around the house and yard. Visit neighbors and relatives. Tell stories and pass on your family history. Build a birdhouse. Go bowling. Go sledding. Finger paint. Color. Practice yoga together. Involve your children in the daily activities of the house, and encourage yourself and your family to rekindle the flame of exploration and discovery, away from the draw of the flickering blue screen.
In addition: Parents should watch at least one episode of the programs their children watch. That way they'll know what their children are watching and be able to talk about it with them. When they see a violent incident, parents can discuss with their child what caused them to act in a violent way. They should also point out that this kind of behavior is not characteristic, not the way adults usually solve their problems. They can ask their children to talk about other ways the character could have reacted, or other nonviolent solutions to the character's problem. Parents can outright ban any programs that they find too offensive. They can also restrict their children's viewing to shows that they feel are more beneficial, such as documentaries, educational shows and so on. Parents can limit the amount of time children spend watching television, and encourage children to spend their time on sports, hobbies, or with friends; parents and kids can even draw up a list of other enjoyable activities to do instead of watching TV. Parents can encourage their children to watch programs that demonstrate helping, caring and cooperation. Studies show that these types of programs can influence children to become more kind and considerate.
We have about 150,000 hours of living to expend between the ages of one and 18. We sleep about 50,000 hours of this time, and we dream about two hours of the eight we sleep each night. Sleeping and dreaming appear to be positively related to the development and maintenance of the long term memories that emerge out of daytime activities, because they allow our brain to eliminate the interference of external sensory/motor activity while it physically adds to, edits, and erases the neural network synaptic connections that create long-term memories. We spend about 65,000 of our 100,000 waking hours involved in solitary activities, and in direct informal relationships with family and friends, and these activities play a major role in the development and maintenance of important personal memories. We spend about 35,000 of our waking hours with our larger culture in formal and informal metaphoric/symbolic activities--about 12,000 hours in school, and about twice that much with various forms of mass media (e.g., TV, computers, films, music, sports, non-school print media, churches, museums).
Mass media and school thus play major roles in the development and maintenance of important culture memories. So on an average developmental day between the ages of l-18, a young person sleeps 8 hours, spends 10 waking hours with self, family, and friends, 4 with mass media--and only 2 hours in school. Our society has incredible expectations for those two hours! Young people tend now to spend much time/energy on such electronic media as video games, TV, and computers--at the expense of non-electronic media and socialization (although new forms of socialization are evolving around TV-watching and video-game-playing). The attentional demands of electronic media range from rapt (video games) to passive (much TV), but this is the first generation to directly interact with and alter the content on the screen and the conversation on the radio. Screenagers emotionally understand electronic media in ways that adults don't--as a viral replicating cultural reality, instead of as a mere communicator of events. For example, portable cameras have helped to shift TV's content from dramatic depictions to live theater, extended (and often endlessly repeated and discussed) live coverage of such breaking events as wars, accidents, trials, sports, and talk-show arguments. What occurs anywhere is immediately available everywhere. Our world has truly become a global village, where everyone knows everyone else's business.
Emotion drives attention, which drives learning, memory, and behavior, so mass media often insert strong primal emotional elements into their programming to increase attention. Since violence and sexuality in media trigger primal emotions, most young people confront thousands of violent acts and heavy doses of sexuality during their childhood media interactions. This comes at the expense, alas, of other more positive and normative experiences with human behaviors and interactions. Mass media tend to show us how to be sexy not sexual, and powerful not peaceful. Commercial sponsorship in mass media has led to a distorted presentation of important cultural and consumer-related issues. For example, TV commercials tend to be very short, superficial, and factually biased. Further, computer programs and TV editing techniques tend to compress, extend, and distort normal time/space relationships, a critically important element in the creation and use of effective long- term memories.
Our awesomely complex, yet elegantly simple brain is the best organized three pounds of matter in the known universe. Decidedly human but individually unique, it is a wary, curious, and exploratory organ that actively experiences and interprets its environment, applying a variety of cognitive models and systems that it develops (within established limits) to the reality it perceives. The brain, as a basic animal organ, developed in three successive layers over evolutionary time to meet survival, emotional, and finally rational challenges. Our rational cortical forebrain is unique among animal brains in its size and capabilities, but our sub-cortical survival and emotional systems play much more powerful roles in shaping our thoughts and behavior than previously believed.
Our brain is composed of tens of billions of highly interconnected neurons that interact electrochemically with surrounding and distant neurons through a complex system of tubular (dendrite/axon) extensions that receive and send messages. Cortical neurons are organized into a vast number of dedicated semiautonomous columnar modules (or networks)/ most of which are modifiable by the experiences that wire up our brain to its environment. Each module processes a very specific function (a tone, vertical lines), and groups of modules consolidate their functions to process more complex cognitive functions. And so, for example, sounds become phonemes become words become sentences become stories.
Genetics plays a much larger role in brain development and capability than previously believed. because biological evolution proceeds much slower than cultural evolution, we're horn with a generic human brain that's genetically more tuned to the pastoral ecological environment that humans lived in thousands of years ago than to our current fast-paced urban electronic environment. Our curiosity and inherently strong problem-solving capabilities allowed us to develop such tools as autos/ books/ computers/ drugs that compensate for our body/brain limitations--and very powerful portable electronic computerized instruments are now rapidly transforming our culture. We can thus view drugs as a fourth technological brain--located outside of our skull, but powerfully interactive with the three integrated biological brains within our skull.Motivation, experience, and training can enhance generic capabilities (e.g., infants can easily master any human language, but they aren't born proficient in any of them), so brain development is a dynamic mix of nature and nurture. Thus, it's important to choose one's parents carefully--because of the genes they pass on, and because of the cultural environment they create--the appropriate mix of biology, technology, and society. Our brain is designed to adapt its cortical networks to the environment in which it lives (e.g., to master the local language). A socially interactive environment that stimulates curiosity and exploration enhances the development of an effective brain. Thus, excessive childhood involvement with electronic media that limit social interaction could hinder the development of a brain's social systems. Conversely, denying a child easy and extensive exploration of electronic technology helps to create an electronically hampered adult in an increasingly electronic culture. Surfing on TV, video, the Internet, and anything else that's electronic is the screenagers version of how to drive a car by first successfully mastering a tricycle/wagon/bicycle.
Our short-term (or working) memory is an attentional buffer that allows us to hold a few units of information for a short period of time while we determine their importance. Since the system has space/time limitations, it must rapidly combine (or chunk) key related bits of foreground information into single units by identifying similarities/ differences/patterns that can simplify an otherwise confusing sensory field. The appeal of computerized video games may well lie in their lack of explicit instructions to the players, who suddenly find themselves in complex electronic environments that challenge them to quickly identify and act on rapidly changing elements that may or may not be important. Failure sends the player back to the beginning, and success brings a more complex, albeit, attractive challenge in the next electronic environment.
Our short-term memory processes frame the segment of the environment that we perceive. We attend to the things that are inside the frame, and we're merely aware of the context, the things that are outside of the frame. Mass media often eliminate a proper presentation of the context of an event, and so distort its meaning and importance. The result is that it presents a rare isolated event as being common, and people overreact. For example, a brutal park murder clears all the parks in the region. Children must develop a sense of context in the electronic media world they experience (and unfortunately, many adults who should assist them also equate rare with common. Even a President spoke normatively of welfare queens who lived in mansions and drive large cars).
The efficiency of our dual long term memory system depends on our ability to string together and access long sequences of: (1) related moto actions into automatic skills (procedural memory), and (2) related objects/ events into stories (declarative memory). Thus, story-telling activities dominate our culture, through conversations/jokes/songs/novels/films/TV/ballets/sports/etc. Young people must master various storytelling forms and techniques, and electronic media can both help and hinder this process (through their range, editing techniques, and interactive potential.
Our brain uses two systems to analyze and respond to environmental challenges, and electronic mass media often exploit these systems:
1. A relatively slow, analytic, reflective system (thalamus- hippocampus-cortex circuitry) explore the more objective factual elements of a, compares them with related declarative memories, and then responds. It's best suited to non-threatening situations that don't require an instant response--life's little challenges. It often functions through storytelling forms and sequences, and so is tied heavily to our language and classification capabilities. User-friendly computer programs and non-frantic TV programming tend to use this rational system.
2. A fast conceptual, reflexive system (thalamus-amygdala- cerebellum circuitry) identifies the fearful and survival elements in a situation, and quickly activates automatic response patterns (procedural memory) if survival seems problematic.
The fast system developed through natural selection to respond to immanent predatory danger and fleeting feeding and mating opportunities. It thus focuses on any loud/ looming/ contrasting/ moving/ obnoxious/ attractive elements that might signal potential danger, food, and/or mates. The system thus enhances survival, but its rapid superficial analysis often leads us to respond fearfully, impulsively, and inappropriately to situations that didn't require an immediate response, (Regrets and apologies often follow). Stereotyping and prejudice are but two of the prices we humans pay for this powerful survival system. Worse, fear can strengthen the emotional and weaken the factual memories of an event. Consequently, we become fearful of something, but we're not sure why, so the experience has taught us little that's consciously useful.
People often use mass media to exploit this system by stressing elements that trigger rapid irrational fear responses. Politicians demonize opponents; sales pitches demand an immediate response; zealots focus on fear of groups who differ from their definition of acceptable. The fast pacing of TV and video game programming, and their focus on bizarre/violent/sexual elements also trigger this system. If the audience perceives these elements and the resulting visceral responses as the real-world norm, the electronic media must continually escalate the violent/sexual/bizarre behavior to trigger the fast system. Rational thought development would thus suffer. We can see this escalation in mass media.
Conversely, if a person perceives these electronic-world elements as an aberration, and not normative of the real world, such electronic experiences could often actually help to develop rational thought and appropriate response. Those who will understand the normative center of a phenomenon must also know about its outer reaches--and mass media provide a useful metaphoric format for observing the outer reaches of something without actually experiencing it (such as how to escape from a dangerous situation one might confront).
So perhaps it's not what electronic media bring to a developing mind that's most important, but rather what the developing mind brings to the electronic media. Children who mature in a secure home/school with parents/teachers who explore all of the dimensions of humanity in a non-hurried accepting atmosphere can probably handle most electronic media without damaging their dual memory and response systems. They'll tend to delay their responses, to look below the shiny surface of things. Further, they'll probably also prefer to spend much more of their time in direct interactions with real live people. They will thus develop the sense of balance that permits them to be a part of the real and electronic worlds--but also to stand apart from them.
Children's happiness doesn't come from stuff, but powerful forces keep trying to persuade America's parents that it does. There now is a board game called Electronic Mall Madness, from Milton Bradley. The kids jam their "credit cards" into the plastic ATM machine and withdraw play money to spend in the mall. The object of the game, which retails for $40.00, is to buy the most stuff and get back to the parking lot first. It's a good introduction to the happy-go-spending, affluenza-infected, life of today's children. Spending by--and influenced by--American children twelve or younger recently began growing by 20% a year, and is expected to reach $1 trillion annually within the next decade. Marketing to children has become the hottest trend in the advertising world. Corporations are recognizing that the consumer lifestyle starts younger and younger. If you wait to reach children with your product until they're eighteen years of age, you probably won't capture them.
From 1980 to 1997, the amount spent on children's advertising in America rose from $100 million to $1.5 billion a year. Children are now also used effectively by marketers to influence their parents' purchases of big-ticket items, from luxury automobiles to resort vacations and even homes. One hotel chain sends promotional brochures to children who've stayed at its hotels, so the kids will pester their parents into returning. For the first time in human history, children are getting most of their information from entities whose goal is to sell them something, rather than from family, school, or religion. The average twelve-year-old in the United States spends forty-eight hours a week exposed to commercial messages. The same child spends only about one-and-a-half hours per week in significant conversation with his or her parents. Children under seven are especially vulnerable to marketing messages. Research shows that they are unable to distinguish commercial motives from benign or benevolent motives.
Polls show that nearly 90% of American adults worry that our children are becoming too focused on buying and consuming things. Advertising aimed at children is hardly a new phenomenon. By 1912, boxes of Cracker Jack already came with a toy inside to encourage children to ask for them. Long before television, children were saving cereal box tops to send in for prizes. The whole idea of children's TV programming came because advertisers were looking for ways to use the new electronic medium to sell their products. The first TV cartoon shows were created explicitly to sell sugared cereals. Ninety percent of food ads on Saturday morning children's programs still push high-calorie, sugary, or salt-laden items. Combine that with the time children spend in front of the tube and it's not surprising that children today are far more likely to be obese than they were in the early days of television. Today's children are exposed to far more TV advertising than their parents were--up to 200 commercials a day!
In the old ads, parents were portrayed as pillars of wisdom who both knew and wanted what was best for their children. Children, on the other hand, were full of wonder and innocence, and eager to please Mom and Dad. There was gender stereotyping--girls wanted dolls and boys wanted cowboys and Indians--but rebelling against one's parents wasn't part of the message. Now the message has changed. Marketers openly refer to parents as "gatekeepers," whose efforts to protect their children from commercial pressures must be circumvented so that those children, in the rather chilling terms used by the marketers, can be "captured, owned, and branded." They portray parents as fools and fuddy-duddies who aren't smart enough to realize their children's need for the products being sold. It's a proven technique for neutralizing parental influence in the marketer/child relationship. Companies selling beauty products are targeting younger and younger girls. By the age of thirteen, 26% of American girls wear perfume every day. Christian Dior makes bras for preschoolers. Jeans ads feature preteen girls in sexual poses. Such images may have dangerous implications; nearly half a million American children are victims of sexual abuse each year. Children in our society are seen as cash crops to be harvested.
We're seeing more and more commercialism in the public schools, with curriculum materials created by corporations for use in the schools. Students find out about self-esteem by discussing "Good and Bad Hair days" with materials provided by Revlon. They learn to "wipe out that germ" with Lysol, and study geothermal energy by eating Gusher's Fruit Snacks. They also learn the history of Tootsie Rolls, make shoes for Nike as an environmental lesson, count Lay's potato chips in math class and find out why the Exxon Valdez oil spill wasn't really harmful at all (materials by you guessed it--Exxon) or why clear-cutting is beneficial--with a little help from Georgia Pacific. Maybe we could turn around the steady decline of our children's SAT scores if we just asked them questions about good and bad hair days instead of about world geography. In nearly half a million classrooms, 8.1 million children watch Channel One, a twelve-minute daily news program that includes two minutes of commercials. Viewing is mandatory for students because advertisers, who pay as much as $200,000 for a single thirty-second spot on Channel One, is told they can count on a "captive audience."
Not only does the couch-potato-on-potato-chips lifestyle undermine our children's physical health, their mental health seems to suffer too. Psychologists report constantly rising rates of teenage depression and thoughts about suicide, and a tripling of actual child suicide rates since the 1960s. In a recent poll, 93% of teenage girls cited shopping as their favorite activity. Fewer than five percent listed "helping others." In 1967, two-thirds of American college students said "developing a meaningful philosophy of life" was "very important" to them, while fewer than one-third said the same about "making a lot of money." By 1997, those figures were reversed! Kids nowadays take everything for granted. They think they've earned it and the world owes it to them. They'll just take, take, take, and they won't give anything back. And our society's going to crumble if we don't have people that give.