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The Pros and Cons of Television Time

The Pros and Cons of Television Time

A percentage of people will argue that television is nothing but garbage, while others will demand that TV is a tool for good. Some people blame television shows for all of the world’s violence, while others see it for being a resource for education. Who is right and who is wrong? Well, it is not as simple as that. The truth does not come packaged nicely in a concrete answer, rather it is more of a discussion with compelling arguments on both sides.

The Pros of Watching Television

Those who are opposed to television time might ask if there are any advantages to it at all. Yet, here are some of the pros of watching television:

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  1. Television is a cheap and easy source of entertainment in this life that is quite busy and expensive. It provides us with access to international news, making it easy to stay informed about world news.
  2. There are also channels that are exclusively educational that increase our knowledge about the world around us. PBS and Discovery are just a few of the educational channels available.
  3. DIY channels provide access to information on cooking, home improvement, investing, and so much more. Many people even use television to help them learn another language.
  4. Television also provides a way for people to realize dreams or goals that they didn’t even know they had, and it can give them a push in the right direction.
  5. Social Surrogacy is the term used by psychologists to explain how television can make people feel less lonely. It sort of fills the shoes of absent family or friends. Television also helps people to expand their minds through watching others travel and being taught about different cultures and societies, giving us a broader understanding of the world that we live in.
  6. Television events like the Olympics or an award show can gather families and friends around in a central location, where they are able to discuss their thoughts and feelings on the particular event.

The Cons of Watching Television

This list could go on and on, but here are a few of the highlights.

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  1. The violence, crime, and sex depicted on television shows can have negative impacts on young, impressionable children. Some researchers argue that the kids that see these violent acts are more likely to reenact this violent and aggressive behavior.
  2. Watching too much television is also bad for your health. Watching more than 3 hours of television a day may contribute to behavior problems, sleep difficulties, health issues, and lower grades.
  3. Too much television can also make you antisocial, and it is potentially a waste of time. The time that is spent watching television could be spent doing something productive like being social with other people, doing physical activity, enjoying the outdoors, reading, chores, or homework.
  4. Some people fear that television brainwashes people into consumerism. Advertisers target children and on average, children will see 40,000 advertisements per year, many of them being for snack foods and alcohol. The motive is to get consumers to buy.
  5. Television can be seen as making people shallow, because that’s what the majority of the content is. Many programs do not go into detail about issues, or they actively present them in a way that is biased. It has also been said that too much television can ruin relationships. This happens when someone is spending too much time watching the TV, and not enough time with the ones that they love.
  6. Oddly enough, television can also be addictive. Those who watch a lot of TV may find it harder to stop. Some studies have found that as much as 12% of TV watchers are unhappy with the amount of TV that they are watching, and would consider themselves addicted and feel incapable of stopping this habit.

To conclude, television time can both positively and negatively affect the viewer, although children tend to be affected more adversely than adults.

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Last Updated on October 23, 2018

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

The Neural Knitwork Project

In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

The knitting and neural connection

The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

More mental health benefits from knitting

Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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“People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

The dopamine effect on our happiness

Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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