Summary: Watching TV Makes You Smarter
In the featured article, “Watching TV Makes You Smarter,” the author, Steven Johnson, justifies his opinipn on the affects television has on the mental development on young people. Readers will notice early on that he opens up first with a comparison of shows that were aired in the past to that are more recent and supportive of his thesis. An older show that he used as an example, Dragnet, only follow one or two characters, has a single plot, and then reaches a conclusion. He then, in contrast, goes to describe a show that aired decades after Dragnet that in the new age of multiple thread television. This show, Hills Street Blues, differentiates the old standard in many ways. It has plenty of primary characters, quick scenes, and a couple of threads from previous episodes. Hills Street Blues is the show that generated the multi-threaded drama ...view middle of the document...
He says that he does not believe that parents should allow their children to just watch whatever they’d like but that the criteria we use to determine whether a television show is good for one to watch should be changed.
Although I agree with Steven Johnson up to a point I cannot go beside the fact that children should be able to watch shows of explicit content whether they can learn from it or not. I understand his argument and I agree that television shows being aired now are more advanced in their complexity of plots. They make the viewer have to follow every episode and season because if they miss one then they are lost through various scenarios. The television shows are challenging in a way that you have to almost put yourself in the scene to understand what is going on. Kind of like a good book. You have to put yourself in the text in order to fully grasp the story. But no one says books slow down your mental development. Just like some books, there are certain shows, movies, and games that children should not be exposed to. There are ratings on these materials for a reason. The age limit has well been set on the viewings for all content. If your child is seven years old they should be seeing R Rated movies or playing adult rated video games. I can see where one might say that a child could learn something from the game Grand Theft Auto because it has actions of real life doings. But, at a young most children are at the stage where they imitate everything they see. And there is a lot of content in that game that should not be acted out on the school playground.
So, in conclusion, I agree with Steven Johnson’s thesis to an extent, but we should still have ratings based on age. I suggest that instead of changing the criteria of a television rating, we convince those who say television shows are slowing down mental development, to follow a series of a Scandal or Teen Wolf. Because those nay sayers probably grew up in the generation of slowed down, single plotted television.