I am from the first real generation of kids raised on TV. My first recollection of TV was a really scary Vincent Price horror movie when I was about 4. My mom had left the TV on while she was cleaning house and even though I had never ending nightmares after that, I was really hooked.
In our house my mom was the strict disciplinarian and my father was passive and really served as vocal back up. So we had rules about how much TV we could watch and we could pick one hour of shows a day. I agonized over which ones and would try to negotiate more time with chores or give various elaborate justifications for why I should have more time. This never worked and I had to settle for just two shows.
When she got sick we spent most of our time in hospital waiting room and watched a lot of TV and drank lots of soda. The TV was my friend and kept me busy while the life I thought I could count on slipped away. Towards the end and after she was gone I watched sometimes six hours or more of TV when I got home from school.
I hear people talk about how much time kids spend in front of a screen of some kind today and how they are being ruined by that and I think about all the time I spent there. Even now when I use TV to occupy me, soothe me and kill time when I want to escape. I do get bored with it sometimes but it is still my friend and with TIVO I can watch my favorite shows any time and more efficiently.
So tonight I am policing myself and have turned the tube off to spend time in front of another screen. So maybe the damage was permanent.