Television is our daily trusted companion. It’s a welcome friend for teens who feel no one understands them. It’s a comforting presence for seniors who spend too much time alone. It’s an evening oasis for exhausted parents of young children. If we’re being honest, most of us believe the best way to relax and unwind at the end of a long day is to sit down in front of the TV. This has been the general consensus for decades. But is it true?
Or could it be that from its very inception, the television itself had far more dubious origins than we realize? Could those flickering blue waves have been designed to change the physical structure of our brains? Could the people who made sure a TV ended up in the home of every American had something more nefarious in mind than mere entertainment?
When we let a box on the wall speak to us for hours a day every day, there is no doubt we will be changed. The only question is how?
The brain has four modes which it can operate in:
· Delta –deep sleep
· Theta – light sleep
· Alpha – awake but relaxed
· Beta – logical thinking
In 1969, Herbert E Krugman did a study where he found that in less than 60 seconds in front of a TV the human brain switches from a beta brainwave pattern to an alpha brainwave pattern. This is especially dangerous to the developing brain of a child. As a toddler interacts with the environment around him, his neurons are constantly firing. A developing brain requires human interaction and real-world experiences to grow. But when a child sits down to watch a TV show, all activity in the frontal lobe stops.
This is also true when a child watches a supposedly “educational” show like Baby Einstein.
On Baby Einstein, there is a scene change every three seconds. It’s this over-stimulation of the baby’s brain that keeps him or her engaged. Dr. Dimitri Christiakis, a pediatrician and Director of Seattle’s Children’s Hospital says, “The concern I had was exposing the developing brain to the rapid sequencing of television programs, particularly baby DVDs which are more rapidly sequenced than normal television would pre-condition the mind to expect high levels of input and that would lead to shorter attention spans later in life. Reality couldn’t, if you will, keep pace with the expectations that had been created by watching too much fast-paced programming…”
Prolonged exposure to scene cuts every few seconds during such a critical period of brain development causes the mind to expect high levels of stimulation in real life as Dr. Christiakis pointed out. This leads to inattention later in life when the real world is never able to move as fast as TV.
The good news is that slow-paced TV programs which take place in real time do not have the same negative affect on the brain as rapidly moving kids’ shows. (This means watching a baseball game on TV is much better for a child’s brain than watching a Disney movie.)
When it comes to kids’ entertainment programming, the full stop of brain activity in the frontal lobe is so severe that France made it illegal for people to create shows aimed at children under the age of three. Despite this knowledge, the average American child still spends 45 hours a week watching TV or using other forms of media.
TV clearly has the potential to harm the developing brains of children, but what about adults?
Robert Kubey, Director of the Center for Media Studies at Rutgers, did a study on what kinds of days people experience after watching a lot of TV the night before. They consistently had worse days following the onslaught of time spent in an alpha brainwave state. Kubey says, “If you don’t feel comfortable with yourself, and you need to fill up that time when you’re by yourself and you don’t have anything else to do…then you’re going to gravitate to the easiest, most inexpensive media that was ever invented—television—so you can fill up your mind with something else. It’s a kind of form of escapism.”
But this particular form of escapism isn’t harmless. Research consistently shows that it harms the brains of not only children but adults as well. A John Hopkins study conducted by Dr. Ryan Dougherty from 1990 to 2011 found that the more television people watch in middle age, the more grey matter they lose. Grey matter is what is low in people with memory loss and diminished cognitive function. The brain uses grey matter for decision-making, hearing, vision and muscle control.
There’s a reason people look like zombies when they’re sitting in front of a TV. All logical thinking capacities in the frontal lobe have been suppressed to the point that they can no longer access them. “The frontal lobe of the brain is the seat of spirituality, morality and the will,” says Dr. Neal Nedley, owner of Nedley Health and Nedley Clinic. “It’s the analytical portion of our brain, and it’s the decision maker. So, a crucial aspect in regards to our future success and happiness is how well our frontal lobe is functioning, and unfortunately entertainment television suppresses the frontal lobe of the brain.” Dr. Nedley says this suppression occurs within 90 seconds of looking at a screen.
People often turn on the TV when they feel depressed as a way to turn off their depressed feelings. While this may seem like a good idea in the short term, it actually makes things much worse in the long run. “Mental health problems are skyrocketing throughout the world, and the entertainment medium is one of the primary reasons why this is occurring,” Nedley says. “We treat the most severe forms of depression and anxiety, and what we have found is that virtually every depressed patient will have about a 40% decrease in circulation of activity in the frontal lobe of the brain.”
A University of Maryland study found that unhappy people watch television 30% more than happy people. Depressed people are drawn to TV because it requires zero effort on their part. Many studies have found that the more lonely and depressed people are, the more likely they are to binge watch shows to distract themselves from negative emotions.
Too much time in front of the TV can lead to a variety of physical problems as well. Watching TV has been called “the new smoking” because of its detrimental effect on health. The Journal of the American Heart Association compared a group of people who watch TV for two hours a day to a group of people who watch TV for more than four hours a day. They found that the group that watched twice as much TV had a 50% higher risk for heart attack, stroke and death.
A person’s limbic system reacts to whatever it sees on screen as if it is happening in real life. This means various hormones are released in conjunction with what we see on TV which is dangerous to both our physical and mental health. Our creator did not design us to live in a regular state of heart-pounding suspense with frequent spikes of adrenaline due to the violent encounters we see screen. (Kids who watch 3 to 4 hours of entertainment television every day will have experienced 8000 murders by the end of elementary school.)
There’s now a TV in every airport, doctor’s office, hair salon and sports bar. So, what exactly is this strange piece of technology we have all so willingly ushered into our lives?
The truth is the TV descends from a strange and convoluted line of esoteric experimentation involving “remote viewing.” TV-like devices were first conceived during occult research. They were devices created for “seeing at a distance”—a sort of technological crystal ball.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise then that occult themes have become more blatant and pervasive in television programs as the years progressed. With Disney currently in the news, let’s take a look at just one of their kids’ shows as an example of this.
The Owl House is Disney’s first kids’ show to feature an LGBTQ couple in a leading role. The show’s main characters are a 14-year-old bisexual girl named Luz and her lesbian love interest named Amity. A transgender character named Raine (who goes by they/them pronouns and is voiced by a transgender actor) is also thrown into the mix. Raine falls in love with a witch named Eda. The Owl House debuted in 2019 and was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award and a Peabody Award for “giving queer kids a welcome template to explore their own budding creative energies.”
The Owl House premise is that Luz falls through a portal where she meets Eda the witch who then takes her home to meet King, the self-proclaimed “king of demons.” Luz then decides she wants to study under Eda to become a witch herself. She attends the “Hexside School of Magic and Demonic” and joins a nearby witches’ coven.
This sort of program may sound like an anomaly, but it’s not. Sorcery and witchcraft are constantly featured in kids’ programming (especially when Disney is involved).
The television tells us a vision that originated with a group of people we’ve never met…people who live in a place called Hollywood. Hollywood is named after the Holly wood tree—a tree used by Druids to create wands for use in sorcery and witchcraft. The visions Hollywood shows us are from a time and place that’s not our own. Media is the medium through which we experience these realms—realms we otherwise never would have been in contact with were it not for the TV. Television programming does indeed “program” our minds and the minds of our children—showing us over and over what a specific group of people far away want us to believe is normal…acceptable…desirable.
Many a good mother warned that too much TV would “rot your brain.” Perhaps they were on to something. Study after study has proven that TV changes the very structure of our brains. It’s time we give this trusted daily companion a bit more scrutiny by asking questions like…
· Does the TV deserve the honor we bestow upon it—the right to occupy the most prominent wall in our home?
· Have TV programs caused us to subconsciously adopt beliefs we otherwise would not have entertained (or even known existed)?
· Do the Hollywood types who create most TV programming serve the creator God or someone else?
· If it’s the latter, why would we willingly allow them to regularly speak into our lives? (Unless we were under some sort of spell that prevents us from thinking logically altogether.)
These are all questions worth asking.
Jennifer is a guest writer for Little Light Studios. You can subscribe to her blog on Substack here.