Silence that Idiot Box!
In Jeff Jacoby’s article on the harmful effects of watching television on children, called Silence that idiot box!, he argues that letting children watch extended periods of television on a daily basis is no different than giving them a drug that produces zombie like effects. He cites several other articles, including scientific publications from both the 1960’s and today, in his rant against what he also refers to as the “boob tube.” He points out that children who watch one or more hours a day of television are more likely to have poor assignment completion rates and negative attitudes towards school. Jacoby sums up a 2005 study published by the American Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine with these words: “Increased time spent watching television during childhood and adolescence was associated with a lower level of educational attainment by early adulthood.” He also points out studies which show correlation between children watching television and being more likely to smoke, be overweight, or suffer from sleep difficulties and high cholesterol.
It is clear that that Jacoby is rabidly against the high volume of television watching that goes on in the world of children, but it might help to understand his point of view if we better understand his background. Jeff Jacoby works for the Boston Herald, is a nationally recognized conservative voice, he briefly practiced law, and has been a commentator for WBUR.
Jacoby points out children watching an extended period of television, and this relates to Bradbury’s story of The Veldt because of the fact that the children in the story Peter and Wendy have been corrupted by the nursery. The facts that the children would much rather have the nursery than have their parents are an extreme of the theory that children can be corrupted by television. In the story, The Veldt, the children are so dependent with the technology that natural activities seem like a chore to them. The fact that the children questioned and complained when their father wanted to move to a different house because the technology has been corrupting them shows that the authority of the household was not the parents but the technology. At the end, the children killed their parents with the help of technology controlling their overall thoughts. This story shows a fictional consequence of how technology can affect and corrupt children.