After its arrival in most 1st-world homes during the 1950’s, the television quickly became the primary method for influencing public opinion. Though many today would instantly recognize much of the programming of that era as blatant propaganda, would they be so keen to recognize it in its current form? Has it widely disappeared or has it simply evolved with the medium itself, becoming far more subliminal?
While many of us have begun moving to more diversified sources of entertainment and knowledge-attainment, it is safe to say that T.V. programming remains largely ubiquitous, particularly for children. And while much of the content being produced for our kids, particularly babies and toddlers, are of a wholesome and educational caste, it is the habit of “outsourcing mental noise” — as was mentioned in one of our other articles on the topic — that is the core issue. This is a very real phenomenon that all of us know too well. When watching anything engrossing, we literally allow the medium to do the thinking for us. And it starts in childhood.
Following are some images from a series by the artist Donna Stevens, entitled “Idiot Box“. It shows the faces of children in what seem to be an almost hypnagogic (between sleeping and waking) state while watching television. As a mother herself, Donna recognizes that she maintains a certain level of techno-paranoia, yet still wants every individual to ask: “How much screen time is beneficial to children’s’ learning and imagination, and how much is too much?”
~ All Images Copyright of Donna Stevens / donnastevens.com.au ~