Garth George: Internet joins TV’s grubby demise

Bay of Plenty Times 25 June 2012
It is a fact of life that whenever anything new, good or useful is invented for our enjoyment and edification, it is soon corrupted by the immoral, the greedy and the evil among us. Take, for instance, the internet. It never ceases to amaze me just how much useful information can be gained at the click of a button when once it took sometimes hours looking through encyclopaedias, manuals, dictionaries or thesauruses. Yet if you type the word “porn” into Google, it will present you with 1.7 billion (yes, billion) pages of prurient material, some of which is so perverted and sickening to almost (yes, almost) put you off sex. And the worst of it is that it is readily available to anyone who knows how to work a computer. Before the internet came television – one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. But it, too, has been corrupted by the immoral, the greedy and the evil.

It seems to me that since television first arrived in this country back in June, 1960 (just ask Google), it has progressively improved and degenerated in equal measure so that nowadays, like Google, much of the content is grubby, gruesome and unacceptable, at least to those of us who try to maintain some sort of moral and ethical standards. So it didn’t surprise me in the slightest that a Tauranga psychotherapist should tell this newspaper that children under 3 should not be watching any television and those up to 7 should be limited to 30 minutes a day.

….But it’s not just the tiny tots who suffer from too much television watching. It has had a marked deleterious effect on our teenagers, too. As Bob McCoskrie, national director of Family First NZ, told the Times: “One of our major concerns is that the 8.30pm watershed for families is just a farce. There is sexual content, foul language and sexual innuendo in programmes as early as 5.30pm. “Also, adult-rated programmes are being promoted during the kids’ viewing times, which is simply wrong. There have been plenty of studies which show the adverse effects on children of prolonged exposure to violence and sexual content.” He is right. It might not be the sole cause, but excessive TV watching has been linked to teen suicides, the increase in venereal diseases, unwanted pregnancies, crime and violence and the apparently mindless destruction of property.