I have heard many people badmouth television as a useless device. I hear parents all the time say things like, “I limit my child’s ability to watch TV because I don’t want to turn them into a mindless drones.”
Here is my take on this subject.
When I was younger, I really had a difficult time understanding people. Human actions in a neurotypical (NT) sense are contradictory to human words. There are hidden undertones and messages that don’t make sense.
Television makes those hidden elements in conversation easier for someone like me (a person who has a hard time understanding facial expression and emotion) to comprehend. When I was a kid, I spent hours and hours watching television and it helped me to practice the social skills I needed to participate with people in school and at home. This was important, because my grandmother refused to have me tested when I was in school. She was not doing it to be spiteful. She did NOT want me labeled. For that reason, my siblings were frustrated at my behavior – they called me spoiled, difficult, rude, blunt, mean, and a few other choice words that I would rather not write.
When I knew that I could not speak to them – I turned on the television and used it to study what I needed to differently.
There were times when I failed to watch the right shows. The show Punky Brewster springs to mind when I think about failed television role models. A person should not dress in multiple colors of socks when one lives in an at-risk urban neighborhood. Reading books helps me to read emotion in the text; it does not give me any indication about how that looks in the flesh.
My point in writing all of this is to ask people – especially people who hate television – to consider another side of the coin. Television changed my life for the better – it is like a friend, a teacher, and a comfort all rolled into one. I do not have to speak to it, make eye contact, humans are all over it, and I don’t have to be socially acceptable.
Food for Thought –