the effects on us
If you were alive in the early 1980s, you remember the advent of MTV. Launched to the strains of the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star,” Music Television was dismissed in some corners as a novelty that would fade away in time. But it went on to profoundly shape what entertainment looked like in the late twentieth century by ushering in the era of hyperkinetic editing, where no shot lasts more than three seconds. This style has since made its way into films and even sporting events.
The advent of this style has shifted the way we consume entertainment. The rapid-fire nature of visual entertainment trains our brains to expect new stimuli at regular intervals. Otherwise, we grow restless. This restlessness extends even to the times when we’re not consuming entertainment. We now feel bored quickly. Every moment must be filled, whether in playing a game, watching a video, or reading the news. Empty time is wasted time and silence is our greatest enemy.
The spiritual component of this media saturation should not be overlooked, as it allows us to distract ourselves from things that truly matter. When our attention is always focused on the external, we can ignore the internal. We can fail to reckon with ultimate questions simply because we haven’t left ourselves with any time to do so.
the effects on families
Beginning in the 1940s, but especially in the 1950s, a profound shift began to take place in American homes. The new invention of television came to have a prodigious influence on the shape of family life.
Before long, TV became the center of the home. Evenings that may have been passed in books or household activities are instead taken up in watching TV programs or movies. While the family is together, they are often not engaging with one another.
This effect is exacerbated in today’s entertainment-saturated environment. The family might not even gather together—one might be off playing a video game, another watching videos on an iPad, and another taking part in an extracurricular activity. There are simply too many options for the family to gather around one.